Blast from the past

During Sir Robin Knox-Johnston‘s solo circumnavigation in 1968-1969 he ran aground off New Zealand, attempting to send a message ashore after a spell of bad weather.

Four local fishermen went to meet Sir Robin as he waited for the tide to come in and they were his first human contact since the start of his voyage.

Sir Robin and one of the fishermen, Lawrie Waters, have written to each other every year since.

And today Sir Robin’s letter was hand-delivered to him by Lawrie’s son Mark (pictured above with Sir Robin).

Sir Robin is in Wellington, New Zealand for the latest stopover of the Velux 5 Oceans race, of which he is the chairman, and Mark is a member of the city’s Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.

Mark, who was seven years old when his father met Sir Robin, said: ‘When dad heard Sir Robin would be coming to Wellington he asked me to deliver his annual letter in person along with some photographs of the two of them.

‘It’s wonderful to have finally met Sir Robin and to be able to continue the family connection.’

Sir Robin said: ‘It was lovely to be given the letter and photos by Mark. I really didn’t expect that. Seeing the photos brought back some very happy memories.’

The Velux 5 Oceans skippers will leave Wellington on Sunday bound for Punta del Este in Uruguay.

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