Portsmouth sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston set to celebrate 50 years since he sailed solo around the world

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A SAILOR who was the first to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globe will soon be celebrating half a century since his momentous achievement.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 80, will be celebrating 50 years since he sailed solo non-stop around the world – taking 312 days to do so.

On Thursday, Sir Robin will set sail from Portsmouth Harbour, heading on a celebratory tour to Falmouth, where he finished his groundbreaking adventure on April 22 in 1969.

He will be joined by Lively Lady, restored and sailed by Alan Priddy, as well as a number of close friends from the sailing world.

Sir Robin says that the event will be a ‘fun celebration’ giving sailors a chance to look back on how the world has changed.

He said: ‘It’s very nice that I’m still around after 50 years.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston aboard Suhaili at Gosport Marina. Commemorative events will take place in Falmouth, Cornawall, on April 22nd, marking fifty years since his solo, non-stop, circumnavigation of the globe.            Picture: Chris Moorhouse              (110419-7)

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston aboard Suhaili at Gosport Marina. Commemorative events will take place in Falmouth, Cornawall, on April 22nd, marking fifty years since his solo, non-stop, circumnavigation of the globe. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (110419-7)

‘I think its a chance for us to celebrate a time when Brits were dominating round-the-world sailing and remind people of how capable we were back then.

‘We’re still capable now – we just need to give people that opportunity.’

Sailing on board Suhaili, Sir Robin has painstakingly restored and maintained the vessel over a number of years.

Reflecting on his record, he believes that the gauntlet is now being passed to the younger generation, and hopes these celebrations may encourage some more youngsters out onto the water.

‘You can work part-time in a shop, or you can come and head out to sea,’ said Sir Robin. ‘I really don’t see a contest there.

‘So many opportunities can arise through sailing and I believe there are some world-class sailors who just don’t know it yet.’

Sir Robin will be leaving Portsmouth Harbour at approximately 10am on Thursday, April 18.