ONE of Britain’s greatest sailors stopped off at a Gosport marina to name a yacht before she sets off on the world’s longest round-the-globe ocean race.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the first person to single-handedly sail around the world non-stop in 1968.
Sir Robin founded Clipper Ventures 17 years ago. The company which, is based in Gosport, hosts the 11-month, 40,000-mile Clipper Round the World Race.
Sir Robin paid a visit to Endeavour Quay yesterday to name a 70ft yacht after its sponsor PSP Logistics.
Anyone can compete in the Clipper race, as long as they have the determination. It is the only race in the world where the organisers supply the fleet of 12 identical racing yachts, each sponsored by a place or a brand.
Sir Robin, 74, said: ‘This race is entirely for amateurs, there are no professionals except for the skipper.
‘Everyone else is giving up time to do something different with their lives or as I like to call it, doing something extraordinary.’
The yacht has a crew of 20 who compete in the race.
Skipper Chris Hollis, 33, from Sydney, said the whole crew was excited.
He said: ‘We want to win, the whole crew’s really pumped for it.
‘The boat is sensational. I’ve had the opportunity to sail a few of the other boats in the fleet through training and we’re really looking forward to seeing what she can do in the open water.’
One of the amateur members of the crew Neil Reynolds, 41, from Auckland said: ‘It’s great to have the opportunity as an amateur to come along and do something like this.’
After the boat’s christening, which saw Champage corks pop, Sir Robin, the crew and sponsors gathered on the pontoon.
PSP’s managing director Frank Dixie said: ‘It is very exciting and I am proud.
‘This is a first for us, it is fantastic. We have been involved with Clipper for four races but this is the first time we have had the honour of naming one of them. It is quite something.’
Having sailed around the world himself, Sir Robin had some words of wisdom to pass on to the crew: ‘Enjoy yourselves, that’s an order.’
The Clipper 13-14 Round the World Race sets off from London on Sunday, September 1. Its first stop will be France before heading on to Rio de Janeiro.