Skip to main content

Sir Robin Weighs In

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is sitting in the lobby of New York’s Algonquin Hotel. He's in town to receive an award from the Cruising Club of America, and he's telling me a story about his encounter with the American astronaut Buzz Aldrin.“He’s a marvelous man, brilliant,” Sir Robin says. “You meet him and you realize that this man was born to be an astronaut. Everything about him, from the

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is sitting in the lobby of New York’s Algonquin Hotel. He's in town to receive an award from the Cruising Club of America, and he's telling me a story about his encounter with the American astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

“He’s a marvelous man, brilliant,” Sir Robin says. “You meet him and you realize that this man was born to be an astronaut. Everything about him, from the details of his CV to his personal character, echoes that. He is a man who was meant to go into space.”

I have to wonder whether Knox-Johnston recognizes the strength of that sentiment within his own character. When I ask, he misinterprets my question and says, “Me? No, I never gave a thought to joining the air force.”

Nonetheless, he is the epitome of a true seaman, the Unequivocal Sailor, with a lengthy resume of competitive conquest and an extensive trophy collection back in England. And because of this, Knox-Johnston is someone the sailing community can turn to in a time when the America’s Cup is engulfed in courtroom drama and the sport’s most notable circumnavigators can’t watch R-rated movies. It is a time when sailing headlines are followed by controversy, when personal challenges are never grand enough, when bank accounts never cover even the most basic refitting and technological advances seem to eliminate the need for, well, everything.

Knox-Johnston is this person because of the tremendous amount of time he’s spent on the water. He is the first person to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop. He and Peter Blake also won the Jules Verne trophy in 1994 for the fastest circumnavigation, at just under 75 days. He’s been named the United Kingdom’s Yachtsman of the Year three times and took line honors during the 1977/78 Whitbread. In the 2006-2007 Velux 5 Oceans solo race, he finished fourth and, at 68, also took home the honor of being the world’s oldest circumnavigator.

In a world of competitive ocean racing, Robin Knox-Johnston is on a first-name basis with the best and most competent skippers in the world. That is, he’s on a first-name basis with them, but they undoubtedly address him as “Sir.”

Related

00LEAD-Thomas-on-%22Melody%22-2004

The Extraordinary Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Thomas Thor Tangvald

The first boat Thomas Tangvald ever owned was just 22 feet long. She was an odd craft, a narrow plywood scow with a flat bottom, leeboards on either side, and square ends—little more than a daysailer with a rotting deck and tiny cabinhouse tacked on. Thomas paid just $200 for ...read more

VIPCAshowbynight

USVI Charter Yacht Show Showcases a Flourishing Industry

As the U.S. Virgin Islands continues to attract sailors seeking to charter and explore the pristine territory on their own, the immense growth and expanded options for a crewed yacht or term charters have exploded here over the past five years. Last week, the USVI Charter ...read more

Screen-Shot-2022-11-21-at-9.48.33-AM

Personal Locator Beacon Wins Top Design Award

The Ocean Signal RescueME PLB3 AIS Personal Locator took top honors at the 2022 DAME Design Awards, while Aceleron Essential, a cobalt-free lithium-iron phosphate battery with replaceable and upgradeable parts, won the first DAME Environmental Design Award. Announced each year ...read more

tracker

EPIRB in the Golden Globe Race

Tapio Lehtinen’s boat sank early this morning southeast of South Africa while racing the Golden Globe Race, a faithfully low-tech reproduction of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe. The boat went down quickly and stern-first according to the skipper’s emergency transmissions. ...read more

99640-victoire-de-charles-caudrelier-a-bord-du-maxi-edmond-de-rothschild-r-1200-900

Victory, Tragedy in the Route du Rhum

The 2022 Route du Rhum was a highly anticipated event in the ocean racing calendar, but few could have predicted exactly how challenging, dramatic, and tragic it would ultimately prove. French yachtsman Charles Caudrelier took home gold aboard the Ultim maxi trimaran Maxi Edmond ...read more

DSC_1879

Boat Review: Lyman-Morse LM46

Lyman-Morse has been building fine yachts in Thomaston, Maine, ever since Cabot Lyman first joined forces with Roger Morse back in 1978. With experience creating and modifying boats built of various materials, backed by its own in-house fabrication facility, the firm has ...read more

01-LEAD-SPICA-Forest_3

Know-how: All-new Battery Tech

Until very recently, the batteries in sailboats used some form of lead-acid chemistry to store energy. Different manufacturers used different techniques and materials, but in the end, the chemistry and the process by which the batteries charge and discharge electricity remained ...read more

01-LEAD-Bill-Sailing2

At the Helm: When Things Go Sideways

I don’t like sea stories. My number one goal on every passage is to get the crew back in one piece. My number two goal is to get the boat back in one piece as well. If I can’t do both, I’ll take the former. Do this long enough, though, and things are going to happen, no matter ...read more