Round-the-world sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston banned for drink-driving

Celebrated sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was today banned from driving after being caught at more than double the drink-drive limit.

Tuesday, 8th November 2016, 11:46 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:47 pm
Sir Robin-Knox Johnston pictured today. Picture: Solent News
Sir Robin-Knox Johnston pictured today. Picture: Solent News

Knox-Johnston, 77, the first man to complete a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, was spotted by a vigilant taxi driver driving on the wrong side of the road and bumping into a traffic island.

The renowned sailor, who completed his feat in 1969, also stopped randomly behind a parked car and failed to give way to another vehicle while behind the wheel.

Knox-Johnston was in his Suzuki Vitara, which has personalised number plates after his initials, when he drove while more than double the limit in Portsmouth.

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Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

The decorated sailor appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates Court today - wearing a navy suit and a tie with ships printed on it - and confessed his actions were 'incredibly stupid'.

The court heard a breathalyser reading showed he had 77 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres in his breath - the legal limit is 35.

Magistrates banned Knox-Johnston, who admitted one count of drink driving, for 18 months and fined him £569 for the offence on October 24 this year.

Prosecutor Ms Wright told the court: 'At the time of the offence a taxi driver was driving along and he notices the defendant's car.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

'The defendant's car stopped behind a parked car and then continued but on the wrong side of the road doing around 20mph.

'He then goes back onto the left side of the road and clips a traffic island.

'He failed to give way at a junction shortly after this. The taxi driver then phoned the police after becoming concerned and they took his measurement at 77 microgrammes.'

She added that Knox-Johnston, who lives in Tower Street, Old Portsmouth. was of previous good character.

Knox-Johnston, representing himself, told magistrates: 'It was an incredibly stupid thing to have done.'

Chairman Barry Audus said: "You pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity so you will be given credit for this.

'Firstly we are disqualifying you from driving for 18 months. In addition we giving you a financial penalty, this will be £440.

'Combined with the £85 prosecution costs and £44 victim surcharge, the total to pay is £569.'

Knox-Johnston agreed to take part in a drink-driving course which will reduce his ban by 18 weeks if he completes it.

Knox-Johnston became the first sailor to sail around the world single-handed and non-stop on April 22, 1969, in Falmouth, Cornwall, having left there on June 14 the year before.

He completed the trip on board 32ft boat, named Suhaili, which he finished restoring this autumn after three years of work.

Knox-Johnston became the oldest yachtsman to complete a round the world solo voyage in the Velux 5 Oceans Race aged 67 in 2006.

He was also the second winner of the Jules Verne Trophy, together with yachtsman Sir Peter Blake, of New Zealand.