22 April 2009

Robin Knox-Johnston Day!

Yes, today is Earth Day. But it's also a famous day in sailing history. Today is the 40th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's completion of the first-ever single-handed solo non-stop circumnavigation. And he did it in a 32' home-made boat, not a computer-designed, super-tricked out, technology from the future kind of racing sled. He did it on raw Manliness. And so we, the sailing community bloggers, have decided to celebrate Sir Knox-Johnston today! It all started here.

"Forty years ago, nine men set out to be the first to sail around the world without stopping. The craft ranged from suicidal to merely questionable, as did most of the sailors themselves. One man, however - a merchant marine with a small, heavy, hand-built teak boat - decided to give it a shot. He sailed out of Falmouth with what some called a pipe-dream, and sailed back a Legend.

There are few living legends. Certainly there are people walking around who've achieved celebrity, respect, and even greatness, but 'Legendary' is an adjective reserved for only a hand full of exceptional people - a very exclusive club. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to single-hand around the globe non-stop, is most certainly that club's Commodore.

Sir Robin was, is, and shall forever be the first man to circumnavigate solo and non-stop. With over a half-million miles under his keel, and a number of other records since his first trip 'round (including the Jules Verne Trophy), Knox-Johnston is the sailor's sailor."

-Excerpted from the introduction to this great interview.

Here's what Sir Knox-Johnston had to say about his first race after finishing the Velux 5 Ocean Race in 2006: "It was much easier 38 years ago, no messing around with technology. They said I was missing for four and a half months and prepared my obituary, but I always knew where I was."

Enjoy other RJK Day celebrations listed here and here.

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