Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is nothing if not a record-setting yachtsman. One of his early exploits took place in the world-girdling Golden Globe Race in 1969, where he beat nine other sailors around the planet to establish a then record of 312 days aboard his 32-foot double-ended Tahitian cutter Suhaili
. More recently he sped around the globe as co-skipper on board the 95-foot catamaran ENZA
(in 1994) to establish a new 74-day mark in the Trophee Jules Verne. Now Sir Robin is back at it, applying his considerable skills against the round-Great Britain course.
Sailing aboard a Reflex 38, Tiger Clipper, (a new design by Chris Stimpson), the 67-year-old Knox-Johnston left the south coast last Tuesday, August 8, under overcast skies, bound in an easterly direction. His course, (stipulated by the World Sailing Speed Record Council WSSRC) will take him through some of Europes most difficult waters. He first must cover the entire east coast of the UK, navigate around the Shetland Islands, past the Outer Hebrides, along the west coast of Ireland, back into the English Channel, and past the Isle of Wight. His shoreside supporters expect Knox-Johnston back ashore by the middle of next week.
The intrepid mariner said before he departed that he intends this voyage to send a message to the crews who are lining up to participate in the Times Clipper 2000a pay-to-sail adventure event for which Knox-Johnston serves as chairman: "Whether you are an amateur or a professional, young or old, there are always new goals and challenges to aspire to in life."
As of late Monday, Knox-Johnston was making his way around the Shetland Isles. At the time, he logged the following report: "Just tacked off Mousa Island 10 miles south of Lerwick. Good run last night but not enough easting in it; got some good snatches of sleep so feel good. Wind now NE by east visibility 300 yards." Standby for further updates on SailNets News, or have a look at the website that is tracking Sir Robin www.clipperventures.com.