15th Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe – from 8-11 September 2021
Knighted in 1995, voted Sailor of the Year four times in the United Kingdom, and Personnalité de la Mer at the 2013 Monaco Classic Week, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has confirmed he will be President of the Grand Jury for the 15th Monaco Classic Week, a role he has already performed in 2017 and 2011.
First man to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was born in Putney, London, in 1939 and grew up near Liverpool on the Wirral Peninsula. It was when gazing across the Irish Sea that he dreamed of setting sail, a passion for the sea that has led him to compete in the world’s most famous offshore races. It was aboard Suhaili, a 32-foot ketch, her design inspired by northern European lifeboats, that he set off from Falmouth on 14th June 1968 to try and win the Golden Globe Trophy round the world race with only a sextant and compass to guide him. She may have been the smallest boat rising to the challenge but Suhaili proved the ideal companion. On 22nd April 1969, 312 days after his departure, Robin Knox-Johnston returned to Falmouth as the first man to sail round the world single-handed and non-stop. The seventies marked a turning point for the sailor who pulled off a succession of impressive results in legendary competitions. He won the Round Britain Race twice, the first time in 1970 with Leslie Williams and a second time four years later with Gerry Boxall. In 1971, he added another trophy to his list on the Cap-Rio race. In 1977, he was on the start of the Whitbread Round the World Race aboard the maxi yacht Heath’s Condor alongside Peter Blake and Leslie Williams, taking line honours in the first and fourth legs. New Zealander Peter Blake was again at his side on another quest to conquer the four oceans, this time in the 1994 Jules Verne Trophy, a non-stop round the world they completed in 74 days 22 hours 18 minutes 22 seconds.
A year later, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 1995, he founded Clipper Ventures Plc to organise the first Clipper Round the World Yacht Race that continues to this day and is perhaps one of his greatest achievements as it has introduced sailing the traditional way to so many people over the years.
In 2006, aged 67, he entered the Velux 5 Oceans Race to become the oldest sailor to complete a solo round the world race.
On 22nd November 2014, Robin Knox-Johnston, now 75, finished the solo transatlantic Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe race, coming third in the Rhum class. He crossed the finish on his Open 60 Grey Power at Pointe-à-Pitre at 16:52 local time, after 20 days 7 hours 52 minutes 22 seconds at sea.
At 82, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston shows no sign of dropping anchor and continues to maintain the long relationship he has with the sea.
- 26 June 2021