British Velux 5 Ocean boats set sail for start-line

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Alex Thomson, the oldest and youngest competitors in the Velux fleet, are setting sail for the start port in Bilbao, Spain. The boats leave Gosport today at 1400.

The passage should take about three days, and will provide both skippers with the opportunity to check onboard systems and equipment. Once in Bilbao, a mixture of final preparations and in-port racing will keep the skippers busy while they mentally prepare for the arduous months ahead.

At 67 Sir Robin – the first man to sail solo and non-stop round the world in 1969 – may be the oldest skipper, but is also the most experienced and is determined to demonstrate that experience can win out, commenting that he is, “not entering this race simply to take part.” Alex Thomson, another serious race contender, is aiming to achieve his own sailing first by becoming the first skipper to complete ‘three in three’ – three round the world races in three years.