Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's epic 312 day circumnavigation aboard his beloved Suhaili will be celebrated in Falmouth on 22 April
On 22 April 1969 Sir Robin Knox-Johnston crossed the finish line of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race off Falmouth and entered the history books as the first person to sail non-stop around the world.
His remarkable achievement aboard his Bermudan ketch, Suhaili is to be celebrated with a series of events in the run up to Easter Monday.
Sir Robin was seen very much as the underdog in the 1968-69 race, struggling to raise the necessary funds to build his yacht. He endured 80-foot waves in the remote Southern Ocean, battled appendicitis, carried out repairs in shark infested waters, and eventually lost all radio contact.
Sir Robin was presumed lost at sea for over four months before being reported by a British tanker vessel just weeks from the finish line.
As it turned out, he was the only one out of the nine entrants who finished the race, the others either sank, dropped out or, in the case of Donald Crowhurst, went mad.
Only one sailor completed the 1968-69 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Katy Stickland meets Sir Robin Knox-Johnston as he recalls…
The 73-year-old French skipper, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede has won the Golden Globe Race
His 312 day circumnavigation went on to inspire a nation and a generation of ocean racers,
In celebration of this pioneering achievement, a programme of public celebration events will take place over Easter in Falmouth.
These include a special parade of sail on Monday, 22 April during which Sir Robin and Suhaili, escorted by a flotilla of supporting vessels, will recreate the historic moment they crossed the finish line, and returned home.
THURSDAY 18 APRIL
0800, Gosport Premier Marina:
Sir Robin departs Hampshire for Falmouth on board Suhaili, which he has hand restored to its former glory.
SATURDAY 20 APRIL
Sir Robin and Suhaili arrive to Falmouth with escorting flotilla: Timing TBD.
SUNDAY 21 APRIL
1200 midday: North Quay, Falmouth
Sir Robin bronze footprint cast unveiled to mark his first steps back on land after 312 days at sea.
In preparation for the anniversary sail on 22 April a flotilla of supporting yachts will assemble at St Mawes. There are 40 mooring buoys for boats up to 12m; larger boats should contact the harbour master, Martin Bidmead, on 01326 270553 or email: email@example.com.
Evening: St Mawes Sailing Club, in conjunction with the Cruising Association, Little Ship Club and Clipper Ventures, welcome flotilla crews to the evening party at the St Mawes Sailing Club from 18:00 – 20:00; tickets are £25 including a donation to charity.
For those not attending by boat you can also book a special charter ferry from Falmouth to St Mawes and back.
MONDAY 22 APRIL
0930 – 1130: National Maritime Museum Cornwall (NMMC): “In Conversation with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Mike Golding OBE.
Opportunity to hear Sir Robin giving first-hand accounts of his epic voyage to one of the world’s most accomplished offshore sailors.
Tickets available, £18 pp: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/in-conversation-with-sir-robin-knox-johnston-and-mike-golding-tickets-58288790341.
The NMMC is also staging an exhibition from 8 April throughout the summer, exhibiting items and photographs from Sir Robin’s personal collection as well as a commemorative documentary that is currently in production.
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.