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Sir RKJ to participate in Route du Rhum

At 75, the British sailing legend will be the race's oldest competitor

Wednesday April 2nd 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 75, will return to his solo ocean racing roots this November when he takes part in French single-handed classic, the Route de Rhum on his Open 60 entry, Grey Power.

The British founder of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and first ever man to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968/69, will compete in the 10th anniversary edition of the 3,500 mile transatlantic race from St Malo, France to Guadeloupe, which starts on 2 November.

Knox-Johnston last did this race in 1982 in his 70ft catamaran Olympus, better known as Sea Falcon. He is the oldest participant entered so far at the age of 75.

Asked why he had chosen a solo Transatlantic Race at the age of 75, Knox-Johnston responded: “Participating in the 2013 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race reminded me how much I enjoy the excitement of an ocean race. Solo sailing is where I feel most at home – no one else can benefit you or let you down – it is all in my hands. The Route de Rhum is one of the classics – it is a very well-run race.”

The race sees sailors cross the Bay of Biscay late in the year in November before reaching the kinder, yet still squally climes of the trade wind belt before finishing in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

The first edition of the race in 1978 was won by Mike Birch after a nail biting finish, but was marred by the disappearance of French sailor, Alain Colas, who was lost at sea.

The 2014 race is open to mono and multihull boats across four classes with almost 80 entrants. Sir Robin will be racing in the 'Rhum' class and will start serious practice once the current Clipper Round the World Yacht Race finishes in July.

Knox-Johnston will celebrate the 45th anniversary of his inaugural circumnavigation on April 22 2014. The solo voyage took 312 days.

He is the chairman and founder of Clipper Ventures which runs the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the biannual event which sees amateur sailors from around the world completing a 40,000 mile global circumnavigation.

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