Almost 50 years have gone by since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston made history when he became the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the globe in 1968-69, gaining global recognition and respect in the international sports and sailing communities.
One of nine sailors to compete in the Times Golden Globe Race, Sir Robin set off from Falmouth, with no sponsorship, on 14 June 1968, with many people writing him off before he even started. With his yacht Suhaili packed to the gunwales with supplies he set off on a voyage that was to last just over ten months. The only person to finish the challenge, he arrived back in Falmouth after 312 days at sea, on 22 April 1969, securing his place in the history books.
As a result Queen Elizabeth II made him a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 1995, following further achievements on the water, the Queen elevated him to Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, thus becoming Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
Sir Robin founded the Clipper Race because he wanted everyone to have the opportunity to do as he did and race around the world, as fewer people have achieved this than have climbed Mount Everest. The first race was held in 1996, and over the past 21 years, he has inspired almost 5,000 people to take on his challenge.
His prominent sailing career has resulted in numerous honours, including the inaugural entry into the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Hall of Fame. He has also been named Yachtsman of the Year an unprecedented four times by the Royal Yachting Association.
Sir Robin set the record for the fastest circumnavigation with Sir Peter Blake in 1994 and was awarded the Trophée Jules Verne. In 2007 he completed his second solo circumnavigation when he competed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race, aged 68.
Continuing to prove that age is no barrier to his achievements, Sir Robin participated in the 2013 and 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races and finished third in class in the solo transatlantic Route du Rhum in 2014 at the age of 75.
Sir Robin’s long list of achievements makes him, without doubt, the world’s most famous sailor.
Here is a list of his greatest accomplishments.
1969 Awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
1970 UK Yachtsman of the Year
1970 Royal Cruising Club Seamanship Medal
1972 Elected a Younger Brother of Trinity House
1972 Member of the RNLI Committee of Management
1977/8 Skippered Condor, Legs 2 and 4, in the Whitbread race
1986 World Champion 60 foot multihull class
1990 Silk Cut Nautical award Seamanship Trophy
1990 Honorary Doctorate – Maine Maritime Academy
1991 Royal Cruising Club Challenge Cup
1991 Cruising World Magazine (USA) Medal of honour
1992 Royal Institute of Navigation Gold Medal for experiments with renaissance navigation.
1992 Freeman of the City of London
1994 Elected Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.
1994 The Maritime Trust’s Cutty Sark Medal
1994 With Peter Blake, won the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest sailing circumnavigation
1994 ISAF World Sailor of the year.
1994 UK Yachtsman of the Year (2nd time)
1995 Hon Acadamecian, The Maritime Institute (Portugal)
1995 The Institute of Navigation (USA) Superior Achievement Award
1995 Elected President of the Little Ship Club
1995 Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
2006-07 4th Velux 5 Oceans Solo Around the World Yacht Race
2007 UK Yachtsman of the Year (3rd time)
2008 ISAF Hall of Fame
2008 Irish Cruising Club Fastnet Trophy.
2010 Awarded the Cruising Club of America, Blue water medal for the advancement of sailing, sail training and youth development
2013 Monaco Yacht Club Personality of the Sea
2014 3rd in Rhum Class in the Route de Rhum
2015 UK Yachtsman of the Year (4th time)
2015 Appointed Honorary Captain, Royal Naval Reserve
2015 Vice Chairman Association Tour du Monde en 80 Jours.