Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in the Rolex Sydney Hobart
Sir Robin Knox Johnston has chosen to sail the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race aboard the older generation Clipper 68, and will find himself up against the twelve brand new Clipper 70s in the race he created; the Clipper Round the World Race and one other 68 footer which are among the fleet of 94 yachts competing in the CYCA’s blue water classic.
The 74-year-old sailing legend explained that if he joined a crew aboard the 70 and didn’t win, he’d look bad.
What made Knox-Johnston sway towards the latter was his basic instinct. “It’s much better chasing someone down, than being chased,’’ he said. “If you’re being chased, fear comes into it. I just instinctively prefer to be the hunter. I’ve always worked on the principle that it’s best to unimpress your opposition because then you catch them out, and when they’re recovering from the shock you get ahead of them.”
The 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart will be Knox-Johnston’s second, having navigated on board Titania of Cowes in 2010, but it will be his first race ever aboard one of his Clipper yachts, which may seem strange for the race’s originator.
Knox-Johnston says he’s not only looking forward to sailing, but seeing how the new generation of his fleet fares racing in an IRC division for the first time.
“We’ve only just had the boats rated. We’ve never raced against another fleet because we haven’t had time,’’ he said. “For us, it’s going to be very interesting.”
As if Knox-Johnston isn’t busy enough, the first person to circumnavigate the globe single-handed (non-stop) is now planning another solo adventure. Exactly what that involves remains a mystery, with Knox-Johnston remaining tight-lipped.
“In 2014, I won’t be coming past here though,’’ he hinted. “It’ll be in my Open 60. Stripped out, 60-feet, has a bucket, doesn’t have a lavatory, a big sail area, and as they say, it’s ‘as slippery as snail snot’. I’ll be racing, in a fleet, but I can’t confirm or deny which race.”