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Sir Robin Knox Johnston wishes Golden Globe skippers good luck in round the world adventure

by Clipper Round the World 1 Jul 2018 22:26 PDT 2 July 2018
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in Les Sables, France, for the start of the Golden Globe Race. © GGR

With a boom of a cannon, Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox Johnston has officially begun the Golden Globe Race 2018, a replica of the race which saw him become the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world in 1968-69.

Following a Parade of Sail in Les Sables d'Olonne Channel in France, Sir Robin fired the starting cannon at 1205, local time, from on board his famous ketch Suhaili.

It has been 50 years since Sir Robin and Suhaili set off from Falmouth on their record breaking voyage, with 17 skippers now attempting to do the same and circumnavigate the world unassisted and without returning to land.

To add to the history of the moment, Sir Robin and Suhaili were joined in Les Sables by Bernard Moitessier's Joshua. This is only the second time in history the two famous yachts have come together, with Sir Robin and Bernard Moitessier never meeting or communicating with each other during the first Golden Globe Race half a century ago.

Sir Robin said: "Moitessier rounded Cape Horn on February 5, 19 days behind Suhaili and had he continued Bernard would undoubtedly have set a faster time around the world but would not have beaten me back to the UK.

"We finally met many years later at a press conference in Paris. Bernard was very generous but suggested to me that he thought the race was lost as far back as Australia – his last contact with the outside world. I believe he continued on for a second lap of the globe after rounding Cape Horn because by then, he was at one with the sea and had no wish to return to an increasingly commercial world."

Sir Robin will next sail to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, to welcome the Clipper Race fleet following its North Atlantic Ocean crossing. The Derry-Londonderry Stopover, which coincides with the award-winning Foyle Maritime Festival, is the final stop for the eleven Clipper Race teams ahead of Race Finish in Liverpool, which will bring the 40,000 nautical mile, eleven-month circumnavigation to an end.

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