VETERAN SAILOR and grandfather-of-five Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has said he is “ecstatic” to claim third place in his class as he crossed the finish line of a solo transatlantic race at the age of 75 – 45 years after he became the first man to sail alone non-stop around the world.
Sir Robin, who founded the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, returned to his solo ocean-racing roots by entering his Open 60 yacht Grey Power into the Route du Rhum competition. He finished three days, zero hours, 46 minutes and 19 seconds behind the Rhum Class winner Anne Caseneuve on her Multi 50 Trimaran Aneo, with Italian Andrea Mura coming in second.
He claimed he was “absolutely over the moon, ecstatic to get third”, and added: “I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was quite fantastic. There were three of us battling for the second and third spot. I got competitive and that was tiring. It came down to boat speed. That’s a fast boat I’ve got. I managed to hold on to my lead but I couldn’t beat Andrea Mura despite catching him up.”
The pensioner, who was the oldest participant, last competed in the 3,542-mile race from St Malo, France, to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean in 1982 in his 70ft catamaran Olympus. And this was his first solo race since his Velux 5 Oceans circumnavigation in 2006-7, which he also sailed in Grey Power. He was the first man to sail solo, non-stop round the world in 1968/9.