Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Sailing legend prepares for thrill of Rolex Sydney Hobart chase

by Danielle McKay, RSHYR Media on 22 Dec 2013
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will race against the 12 Clipper 70s in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/

<It’s not often Sir Robin Knox-Johnston finds himself in a no-win situation, but that’s just where he wound up when he entered the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this year.

Sir Robin chose to sail aboard the older generation Clipper 68, but will race against those aboard the 12 brand new Clipper 70’s in the race he created; the Clipper Round the World Race and one other 68 footer which are among the fleet of 94 yachts competing in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s blue water classic.

The problem for Knox-Johnston was, which boat to race on: the old or the new?

The 74-year-old explained that if he joined a crew aboard the 70 and didn’t win, he’d look bad. The same could be said if he raced aboard the 68.

What made Knox-Johnston sway towards the latter was his basic instinct.

'It’s much better chasing someone down, than being chased,’’ he said.

'If you’re being chased, fear comes into it. I just instinctively prefer to be the hunter.

'I’ve always worked on the principle that it’s best to unimpress your opposition because then you catch them out, and when they’re recovering from the shock you get ahead of them.'

The 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart will be Knox-Johnston’s second, having navigated on board Titania of Cowes in 2010, but it will be his first race ever aboard a Clipper, which may seem strange for the race’s originator.

Knox-Johnston says he’s not only looking forward to having a sail, but seeing how the new generation of his fleet fares in an IRC division for the first time.

'We’ve only just had the boats rated, we’ve never raced against another fleet because we haven’t had time,’’ he said. 'For us, it’s going to be very interesting.'

As if Knox-Johnston isn’t busy enough, the first person to circumnavigate the globe single-handed (non-stop) is now planning another solo adventure.

Exactly what that involves remains a mystery, with Knox-Johnston remaining surprisingly tight-lipped.

'In 2014, I won’t be coming past here though,’’ he hinted. 'It’ll be in my Open 60.

'Stripped out, 60-feet, has a bucket, doesn’t have a lavatory, a big sail area, and as they say, it’s ‘as slippery as snail snot’.

'I’ll be racing, in a fleet, but I can’t confirm or deny which race.'

The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia, the Australia Network throughout the Asia Pacific Region and webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7 from 12.30pm until 2.00pm on Boxing Day.

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
Laser creator Ian Bruce passes away (1933 - 2016)
Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. His legacy to our sport, Canadian sailing and his beloved Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club will be praised and honoured for years to come.
Posted on 24 Mar
Rio 2016 - Kiwi women sailors jump to escape Olympic Selectors' axe
Two New Zealand sailors will head overseas on self-funded campaigns to gain selection in the New Zealand Olympic team Two New Zealand women sailors will head overseas on self-funded campaigns to gain selection in the New Zealand Olympic team in what is expected to be the final round of announcements.
Posted on 18 Mar
North Technology - Southern SparsSchaefer 2016 660x82T Clewring AC72