Flotilla helps Sir Robin Knox-Johnson celebrate 50th anniversary of sailing feat

By Mason Boycott-Owen, Press Association

A flotilla of more than 100 vessels recreated the historic moment Sir Robin Knox-Johnson returned to Falmoth, marking the 50th anniversary of his completion of the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world.

A flotilla, including Royal Navy warship HMS Mersey, and more than 100 supporting yachts of all shapes and sizes, joined Sir Robin – and his original ship, Suhaili – in Falmouth Harbour to recreate the historic moment.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnson on board Suhali, is escorted by a flotilla of vessels across the finish line of his original voyage in Falmouth (Ben Birchall/PA)

He stepped back on shore at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club in the precise location he took his first steps back on land after 312 days at sea in 1969.

“Today has just felt like a fantastic display for my sport,” he said afterwards.

“I looked around out there and was so proud to see so many people out enjoying the day with me, celebrating something that happened 50 years ago. I feel truly honoured.”

He added: “My pleasure comes from watching others getting to enjoy my sport.

“Sailing on the oceans, is the way I enjoy it, and as long as I can, I will go on persuading others to try it because once you have, you will understand and be captivated by it like I was.”

Sir Robin Knox-Johnson arrives at the Royal Yacht Club jetty (Ben Birchall/PA)

The assembled boats also sounded their horn at the exact time he crossed over the finishing line 50 years ago in a salute to Sir Robin.

Among the many supporters turning out to help re-create Sir Robin’s moment were family members, friends, colleagues and sailing comrades from across the decades, as well as local well-wishers who were there to see him return in 1969.