Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Historic photos of first solo circumnavigation saved for posterity

by PPL Media on 11 Apr 2013
Circa 22nd April 1969: Robin Knox-Johnston with champagne aboard his 32ft yacht SUHAILI off Falmouth, England after becoming the first man to sail solo non-stop around the globe. Knox-Johnston was the sole finisher in the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo round the world race, having set out from Falmouth, England on 14th June 1968 Bill Rowntree - PPL © http://www.pplmedia.com

A 3,000-strong archive of pictures, taken during Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s pioneering solo non-stop round the world voyage in 1968/9, has been discovered and saved for posterity by specialist photo library PPL.


The pictures cover Knox-Johnston’s entry in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in1968/9 when Robin was one of nine starters attempting to become the first to sail alone non stop around the world. The event was billed as one of the last great challenges left to man. For the other eight, it was a challenge too far, for Robin was the only finisher, completing the 27,000 mile circumnavigation aboard his self-built 32ft ketch Suhaili in 312 days.

The valuable archive had been gathering dust in the library of the Sunday Mirror newspaper which had published Robin's stories during the voyage. The negatives were about to be dumped in a skip when the London newspaper moved from Fleet Street to Canary Wharf, but by pure chance, Bill Rowntree, the Mirror photographer who had covered Knox-Johnston’s departure and return to Falmouth, happened to be in the newspaper the day of the big clear out.

Bill, now 73, recalls, 'The picture library manager poked his head round the door and asked if I had any use for them.' Rowntree put the box under his arm and took it back to his home at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and there the negatives may have lain, had it not been for a particular picture request from Henri-Lloyd, the clothing manufacturer that had supplied Knox-Johnston’s original oilskins, to mark their 60th anniversary celebrations this year.

Many of the colour pictures in Knox-Johnston’s bestselling book A World of My Own, were lost after publication, but PPL Photo Agency holds what was left of the Knox-Johnston archive within its Pictures of Yesteryear Library. This also contains the archives of other famous sailing pioneers including Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Chay Blyth, and photographer Eileen Ramsay, who captured many of these great events between 1949 and 1970. It was Barry Pickthall’s call to Rowntree to see if he still had the negative that Henri-Lloyd needed, that prompted the question 'What should we do with the other 3,000 pictures I have here?'

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who is now inspiring hundreds of amateur sailors to follow in his adventurous wake aboard a 12-strong fleet of yachts in the Clipper Round the World Race starting from the UK in August, says of the find, 'I thought these pictures were lost, so it was a wonderful surprise to discover that this unique record of my return to Falmouth in 1969 still exists.'

Dan Houston, the Editor of Classic Boat Magazine, says: 'There is something quite awe-inspiring when you look at these photographs. They capture a moment in sailing history when Sir Robin, then a young man, almost unwittingly stepped into the history books. His boat Suhaili was not the fastest – he never expected to win, but as the other competitors were beaten by the elements and gear failure, it was Robin and his seaworthy little ketch that won the day. Sir Robin went on to become Britain's most endearing and enduring sailing hero – and gave his £5,000 prize money from the race to the family of Donald Crowhurst who committed suicide during the race.

These photographs show the man as much as the hero: his parents tense faces as he reassures them saying goodbye; life aboard in his untidy cabin; his first unsteady steps back on dry land and his first beer ashore. It is all such a contrast with how things are done today – and it makes his feat of seamanship all the more remarkable.'

PPL has now archived the entire collection of negatives and scanned in the best so that they are available to view online at www.pplmedia.com

To view the lightbox of all the RKJ pictures www.pplmedia.com/online/lightbox.lasso?id=12669125!click_here





upffront 660x82Naiad/Oracle SupplierInSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Gold Coast Race - Live and replay coverage of the start
Live and replay coverage of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Race start Live and replay coverage of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Race start
Posted today at 4:33 am
SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Alinghi apply the pressure in Hamburg
Morgan Larson’s dominant Omani team who go into the clubhouse in first place at the half way stage of the Act. 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ - A sunny day on the River Elbe coupled with a lively breeze saw SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Alinghi challenge Oman Air for honours on the second day of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Hamburg, but it’s Morgan Larson’s dominant Omani team who go into the clubhouse in first place at the half way stage of the Act.
Posted today at 2:55 am
Comanche sets new trans-Atlantic Record - Video of the Finish
High definition video of Comanche crossing the virtual finish line off the Lizard to set a new monohull trans-Atlantic r High definition video of Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s supermaxi, Comanche setting a new, provisional world record for crossing the Atlantic for a monohull, in a manually powered sailing vessel of 5 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes 25 seconds. The video was recorded on and off the boat as she crossed the virtual finish line off the Lizard, southern England.
Posted today at 1:06 am
Close fight around Wight on Day 6 of Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
20-25 knot winds and glorious sunshine made for one of the most memorable races around the Isle of Wight on record With a win for Eric de Turkheim's A13, Teasing Machine (despite destroying a kite), and a second for Daniel Andrieu's Sun Fast 3200, Cifraline 4, France Blue have leapt ahead in the overall results, now holding a 35.5 lead margin over the second placed Flanders North Sea Team.
Posted on 29 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Azzurra concludes with a win
Azzurra closes PPSW, the third event in the series with a win that feels like a wish for good luck in the events to come Azzurra closes the PPSW in Mallorca, the third event in the series, with a win that feels like a wish for good luck in the events to come. Quantum is the Series’ current leader, followed by Azzurra.
Posted on 29 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Quantum Racing takes the prize
Quantum Racing wrapped up their third regatta title of the season with a race to spare on the Bay of Palma Quantum Racing wrapped up their third regatta title of the season with a race to spare on the Bay of Palma, winning 2016 Puerto Portals Sailing Week, Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec completed a notable comeback after a disappointing ninth at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Posted on 29 Jul
Oman Air faces some infamous challenges at Extreme Sailing Series
All teams made it onto the podium at some stage during the seven race programme, reflecting the degree of difficulty All seven teams made it onto the podium at some stage during the seven race programme, reflecting the degree of difficulty in achieving any sort of consistency in a very shifty and unstable breeze that topped out at a bracing 14 knots when all the GC32s catamarans took off on their foils and flew around the race course.
Posted on 29 Jul
Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy – 2 months to go to the 6th edition
The regatta is reserved to boats that are one hundred or more years old and in 2016 will celebrate its sixth edition. The regatta, unique in its genre, is reserved to boats that are one hundred or more years old and in 2016 will celebrate its sixth edition anniversary. Over the years, the Centenary trophy has gathered some of the most gorgeous and best performing classic yachts from the past century.
Posted on 29 Jul
Vendée Globe – Sébastien Destremau – Simplicity as a credo + Video
A native of Toulon in the south of France, Sébastien Destremau can lay claim to one of the smallest budgets of the fleet A native of Toulon in the south of France, Sébastien Destremau can lay claim to one of the smallest budgets of the fleet. His credo is to keep it simple, inexpensive and effective. Interview with the skipper of faceOcean, winner of the Calero Solo Transat back in the spring.
Posted on 29 Jul
The Vendée Globe – 100 days and counting
With some 100 days until the start, the first thing to note is that the fleet of participants is stronger than ever With some 100 days until the start, the first thing to note is that the fleet of participants is stronger than ever, since there are some twenty-eight skippers, registered and qualified, whilst ‘just’ twenty sailors took the start in 2012. As a result, we’re set to be close to or equal to the 2008 record (thirty skippers at the start)!
Posted on 29 Jul