A chance meeting with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston made my week one for the books.
Most of you will know that I would love to, one day, sail around the world. It has been a great dream since a very young age. In 1968 Sir Robin became the first man to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe and was the second winner of the Jules Verne Trophy.
On 14 June 1968 Robin Knox-Johnston left Falmouth in his 32-foot (9.8-metre) boat Suhaili, one of the smallest boats to enter the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Despite losing his self-steering gear off Australia, he rounded Cape Horn on 17 January 1969, 20 days before his closest competitor Bernard Moitessier, who subsequently abandoned the race and sailed on to Tahiti. The other seven competitors dropped out at various stages, leaving Knox-Johnston to win the race and become officially the first man to circumnavigate the globe non-stop and single-handed on 22 April 1969, the day he returned to Falmouth. Knox-Johnston donated his prize money for fastest competitor to the family of Donald Crowhurst, who committed suicide after attempting to fake a round the world voyage.
The Sapinda Rainbow team will sail aboard the Invest Africa yacht, one of a fleet of twelve 70 foot ocean racers which departed from Tower Bridge in London on Sunday 1 September 2013. The 40,000 miles race takes 11 months and visits 15 ports on six continents.
This team of 8 young people from South Africa will be taking part in this year’s race to try and raise R200 000 000.
“We are very pleased to be supporting this important project and to seek corporate support from around the world to help realise the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital,” said Dirk Van Daele, Sapinda Executive Committee Member.
I met with some of the guys and girls that will now undertake leg three of the Clipper race. We talked cheerfully about the prospect of crossing the Southern Ocean, which I can assure you is no easy thing to do. Lebalang Molobele, the leader of the team, said that she is very excited to start up an NGO to help create an awareness for young people to follow their dream.
These guys are going to have to push themselves hard to find out how far they can go. Let’s get behind them and follow their progress for the rest of the race.
Follow them on Twitter:
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: @SirRKJ
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race: @ClipperRace