Sun, Apr 21, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Sailor to mark 50 years since circumnavigation

AP, SAN DIEGO, California

Doubled over in pain, he said he altered his diet as best he could.

“Eighteen months later, I was rushed to the hospital and the surgeon said: ‘Have you had pains before?’ I said: ‘Why?’ and he said: ‘Because it had lesions on it.’ It had burst and repaired itself. Every day has been a bonus ever since,” he said.

The proper attitude was key to survival, he said.

“Of course things go wrong. If this was easy, someone else out would do it, so stop whingeing and carry on,” he said, using a British term for whining.

Knox-Johnston 12 years ago made another solo circumnavigation, because “these youngsters told me I was too old. I didn’t agree. I was only 68. I was still young.”

He completed the trip in the Velux 5 Oceans race in the 60-foot Grey Power in 130 days.

He also completed two circumnavigations with crew, including in 1994, when he and Sir Peter Blake of New Zealand led a crew aboard a 92-foot catamaran to win the Jules Verne Trophy with a time of 74 days, 22 hours, 17 minutes and 22 seconds.

Knox-Johnston was knighted the following year.

In 1996, he founded the Clipper Race, in which professional skippers lead amateur crews.

“The first thing people don’t appreciate is the sea is never the same,” he said. “You look at it one second and the next second it has changed. You never know what will pop up — a dolphin, a whale, a bird. When the boat is sailing along and you’re comfortable, feeling good and you’re going fast, come on, I want everyone to have this experience.”

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