The first boat to sail non-stop around the world returns to Hamble this evening 29/4/08


Almost 39 years to the day since she completed her record-breaking voyage, the 32-foot Bermudian Ketch will make another, from Devon to the Elephant Boatyard at Bursledon where she will be laid up ashore to complete a major re-fit.

On 22 April 1969 the unsponsored Robin Knox-Johnston, a Merchant Navy Officer, sailed Suhaili into Falmouth, and into the record books, after 312 days at sea to win the Sunday Times Golden Globe for the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world, the only finisher of nine starters.

Since then he has sailed her extensively, using her for trips to Greenland with Sir Chris Bonington and across the Atlantic to test out renaissance navigation methods, for which he was awarded the Royal Institute of Navigation’s Gold Medal. While Sir Robin was building Mercury Marina, Suhaili was a familiar sight on the Hamble and around the Solent, but more recently she was put on display at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.

However health and safety issues about keeping her planking wetted led Sir Robin to remove her from Greenwich and put her back into commission. Now 45 years old, Suhaili’s original Indian fastenings are rusting away and Sir Robin intends to replace them over the coming months and get the boat sailing again.