Please select your home edition
JOIN THE RACE JOIN THE 2019-20 RACE MAGAZINE DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL SOUVENIR RACE MAGAZINE Check out the latest photo galleries from The Clipper Race

Sir Robin: 50 Year Golden Globe Anniversary plans

by Clipper Race 17 Apr 12:00 PDT
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston pictured by Bill Rowntree on April 22 1969 at the finish of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Sir Robin, now 80, recounts his story on BBC Radio 4 © Bill Rowntree / PPL

22 April, 2019, marks an astounding 50 years since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and his yacht, Suhaili, returned to Falmouth after an epic 312 days at sea in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, securing him in global history as the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world.

A personal quest, inspired by Sir Francis Chichester's single-stop circumnavigation in 1967, Robin faced many challenges along his journey.

Despite Robin being a master mariner with over a decade of experience in the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy Reserves, Robin was underestimated due to his understated, humble manner and was very much overlooked as an underdog in lead up to the race. He received no sponsorship as a result and went to sea with only the most important gear, provisions, and clothing, which included two pairs of foulies, one pair of wellies, one set of naval working gear and one sweater.

From raising his own funds and building his own yacht, to facing 80-foot waves in the remote Southern Ocean, battling appendicitis, carrying out repairs in shark infested waters, and eventually losing all radio contact. Robin was feared lost at sea for over four months, until spotted by a British tanker vessel in the Atlantic on Easter Saturday, 5 April 1969, just weeks from the finish line.

Robin's eventual success in that race, against all odds, has been well documented since. It undoubtedly changed the course of his life, and thousands more, forever. Not content with circumnavigating once, Robin went on to complete three further round the world journeys and has helped many more people to achieve this feat over the past 23 years spent running the Clipper Race. Through the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race he has introduced thousands of people to the world of sailing and trained them to become ocean racers.

A story of one-man's determination, mettle and fortitude, to ignore the naysayers and achieve his dream, not only for himself, but an event that inspired a nation, and later a generation of people around the world to rise to the challenge.

In celebration of his pioneering achievement in global sailing and adventure history, which took place during the year of the first moon landing; a programme of public celebration events will take place over the Easter weekend in Falmouth, Cornwall.

These plans include a special parade of sail on Monday 22 April during which Sir Robin and Suhaili, recently hand restored to her former glory, escorted by a flotilla of supporting vessels, will recreate the historic moment they crossed the finish line, and returned home. Throngs of people are expected to join in as well-wishers are invited to join them on the water or to watch from land.

The schedule of celebrations include:

Open now until 8 September

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall is staging an exhibition throughout the summer, exhibiting items and photographs from Sir Robin's personal collection, many which have never been shown in public before.

Thursday 18 April

  • 0800: Gosport Premier Marina: Join Sir Robin, and supporting vessels including Alec Rose's Lively Lady, as he departs his home port to sail Suhaili to start the celebrations in Falmouth.
Saturday 20 April
  • Timing TBD, Falmouth: Sir Robin and Suhaili arrive to Falmouth with escorting flotilla.
Sunday 21 April
  • 1000 - 1600, Falmouth Haven: Viewing Suhaili and Lively Lady - for a donation to the RNLI
  • 1200 midday - North Quay, Falmouth: Bronze footprint cast unveiled in the marina to mark Robin's first steps back to land.
Monday 22 April
  • 0930 1130, National Maritime Museum Cornwall (NMMC): "In Conversation with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Mike Golding OBE." Unmissable opportunity to hear Sir Robin giving first-hand accounts of his epic voyage to one of the world's most accomplished offshore sailors. The event will close with Robin revealing his personal report into the latest Golden Globe Race.

    Tickets available, £18 pp.

  • 13.00 16.00, Falmouth Harbour: On the water spectacle involving Sir Robin and Suhaili, plus a flotilla of supporting vessels to re-enact the exact time (1525) Robin crossed the finish line and returned home. Supporting vessels are welcome to join Sir Robin and Suhaili on the water, or alternatively you can view the parade from the land, Pendennis being a great spot.
Tuesday 23 April
  • 1100: Falmouth Bookseller, 21 Church Street: Book Signing with Sir Robin of his new autobiography 'Running Free'.
Look out for information on the upcoming Sir Robin Knox-Johnston documentary on the Clipper Race channels. In the meantime, you can catch up with when he relived his historic voyage of 1969, for Radio 4, Sailing Into History, on BBC iPlayer now.

Related Articles

China Yachting Association visits Clipper Training
UK training hub plays host to Zhang Xiaodong Following a World Sailing event in London, the President of the China Yachting Association (CYA), Zhang Xiaodong, was invited to the Clipper Race Training Centre in Gosport in order to observe the set-up and training procedures first-hand. Posted on 22 May
Excitement grows for Clipper 2019-20 Race crew
Emotions running high for Clipper Race crew Emotions were running high for Clipper Race crew over the weekend as they finally found out who they will be taking on the ultimate ocean adventure with, when the Clipper 2019-20 Race begins in London on 1 September. Posted on 14 May
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston reveals Clipper crews
Almost 700 adventurers will be taking part in the 2019-20 Race Four hundred crew members pose on the steps of Portsmouth Guildhall, with sailing legend and Clipper Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, after discovering their Skippers and which teams they will be sailing around the world with. Posted on 13 May
Clipper 2019-20 Race Crew Allocation Day
700 Clipper Race Crew members have found out their teams Nearly 700 Clipper Race Crew members have found out their team and Skipper at Clipper 2019-20 Race Crew Allocation Day. Posted on 12 May
Cape Town to host Global Sailing Race
Also Seattle revealed as team entry A trio of announcements have been made by the Clipper Race today regarding its upcoming 2019-20 edition including a new Host Port Partner, as well as a team entry and its Skipper. Posted on 11 May
Wondrous Whitsundays completes Clipper Race Leg 4
First of the Clipper 2019-20 Race route announcements In the first of many exciting announcements planned for the week leading up to Crew Allocation on Saturday, we can now reveal that the Australian Coast-to-Coast Leg 4 is complete, with the beautiful Whitsundays added to the Clipper 2019-20 Race route. Posted on 10 May
Meet the Clipper Race skippers: Becky Broudie
Becky's Clipper Race journey began in March 2018 Fascination with the ocean and its vast seascapes are not uncommon amongst our intrepid Clipper Race crew. But for Becky Broudie, a Clipper 2019-20 Race crew member, her connection with the ocean runs far deeper than any fleeting daydream Posted on 3 May
Record Chinese representation in Clipper Race
For the first time, there will be three Chinese teams The twelfth consecutive edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is set to prove sailing in China is going from strength to strength, with a record number of Chinese crew and teams set to take part in the global ocean adventure. Posted on 29 Apr
'Big blue boat' to race 40,000 miles
Around the world for Unicef UK in the Clipper 2019-20 Race Unicef UK has been announced as a team entry in the Clipper 2019-20 Race. This will be the third consecutive edition in which a Unicef UK yacht will take to the water and fly the flag for the world's leading organisation working for children in danger. Posted on 28 Apr
18 candidates to represent Sanya in Clipper Race
Following a gruelling selection process in China Following a gruelling selection process, 16 candidates including; a graphic designer, CEO, bilingual event host, snowboard instructor student and engineer; two reserves, plus one media crew member, were chosen to form the tag team of ambassadors. Posted on 27 Apr 2014RS Sailing BOTTOMMarine Resources BOTTOM