On this day in history : 22nd April 1969 – British yachtsman Robin Knox-Johnston sails into Falmouth Harbour completing the first non-stop solo circumnavigation of the World….
Robin had left Falmouth on the 14th of June 1968, one of nine sailors competing in the Golden Globe Race, the first single-handed round-the-world yacht race and sponsored by the Sunday Times….
Out of the nine entrants Robin was the only one to finish the race…. Four retired in the early stages – whilst Chay Blythe, who had set off with no previous sailing experience, made it to just beyond the Cape of Good Hope before retiring…. One boat sank and another competitor abandoned the race…. Tragically, one competitor, Donald Crowhurst, suffered a mental breakdown during the race and committed suicide….
Robin’s 32 foot Bermudan ketch was one of the smallest yachts in the race…. Named ‘Suhaili’ – meaning ‘good wind’ – she was built in Bombay in 1963 and Robin still owns her today….
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Robin, there were problems encountered during the voyage, such as losing his self-steering gear off of Australia…. In recognition of his achievement Robin was awarded a C.B.E. – he donated his £5,000 prize money from the race to the family of Donald Crowhurst….