Veteran yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to compete in Route de Rhum Transatlantic race

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Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is to attempt to sail solo across the Atlantic at the age of 75 - 45 years after he became the first man to sail alone non-stop around the world.

Sir Robin, who founded the Gosport-based Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, is to return to his solo ocean-racing roots by entering his Open 60 yacht Grey Power into the Route de Rhum Transatlantic race.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in Gosport today

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in Gosport today

The pensioner, who is the oldest participant to have entered so far, last competed in the 3,500-mile race in 1982 in his 70ft catamaran Olympus.

He said: “Participating in the 2013 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race reminded me how much I enjoy the excitement of an ocean race.

“Solo sailing is where I feel most at home, no one else can benefit you or let you down, it is all in my hands. The Route de Rhum is one of the classics - it is a very well-run race.”

Sir Robin set his circumnavigation record when he competed the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race on April 22, 1969. The other seven competitors dropped out at various stages leaving Sir Robin as the victor as he sailed into Falmouth aboard his 32ft boat Suhaili, 312 days after he left the Cornish port.

For his latest challenge, Sir Robin will compete in the 10th anniversary edition of the Route de Rhum race which starts in St Malo, France, on November 2, and finishes at the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

The inaugural race in 1978 was won by Canadian Mike Birch after a nail-biting finish but was marred by the disappearance of French sailor Alain Colas, who was lost at sea.

The 2014 race is open to mono and multihull boats across four classes with almost 80 entrants.

Sir Robin will be racing in the Rhum class and will start serious practice once the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race finishes in July.

Sir Robin is the chairman and founder of Clipper Ventures which runs the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the biennial event which sees amateur sailors from around the world completing a 40,000-mile global circumnavigation.