Sir Robin Knox-Johnston won the prestigious title of Raymarine/YJA Yachtsman of the Year


Today, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston won the prestigious title of Raymarine/YJA Yachtsman of the Year – making it a double for the boys, following Laurence Greenough taking the title of Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year (announced at the London Boat Show on Saturday 12 January).

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, from Devon, who completed the Velux 5 Oceans Race at the age of 68, thirty-eight years after his original (the first non-stop) solo circumnavigation of the world, was presented with the coveted award by Lady Pippa Blake. The prestigious awards ceremony, arranged by members of the Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA), was held at The Painted Hall, The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

Sir Robin said about winning the award: “Looking at the other finalists it was very unexpected. I had no idea! I’m the only person to have won the award three times, but I expect my record may not last as the others have age on their side. It’s a delightful surprise to share it with so many friends.”

Sir Robin first made history in 1969 when he took 312 days to become the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in the Sunday Times Golden Globe, sailing Suhaili. He said he entered the Velux 5 Oceans Race, which finished in May 2007, to prove that age is not a barrier to getting out and doing things in life.

The Velux 5 Oceans Race is one of the toughest sporting challenges in the world. It pushes skippers’ endurance, resilience and determination for more than 150 days in demanding and extreme conditions. After finishing the race Sir Robin said he would not have missed it but vowed never to do another solo circumnavigation of the world.

Finalists for the prestigious title included World and Pre Olympic Champions Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson; disabled sailor Geoff Holt, who achieved his “Personal Everest” in 2007 by sailing around the UK single handed; and Mike Golding for risking his own life to rescue a fellow competitor in the Velux 5 Oceans race in appalling Southern Ocean conditions, thus ruining his own chances of winning the race.

Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year: 12 year old Laurence Greenough from Plymouth was presented with the prestigious title of Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year for his courage and determination to overcome adversity. After losing a leg in a boating accident he was back sailing in just two months in an unmodified boat, and is now part of the Royal Yachting Association South West Topper Zone Squad.