Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the first man to sail around the world single-handed and non-stop.

Born in 1939 in London he began his career on the ocean in the merchant navy and Royal Navy Reserves.

In 1965 he sailed Suhaili, his William Atkins designed ketch, from Mumbai, India to England. He completed this voyage in stages as a lack of resources meant he had to stop in South Africa to work before taking the adventure up again in 1967.

In 1968 Knox-Johnston and eight other sailors began their attempt to be the first to solo navigate the globe non-stop in the Sunday Times-sponsored Golden Globe Race. He was the only competitor to succeed.

His 32ftt (9.8-metre) boat Suhaili was one of the smallest yachts to enter and the only one to finish, making him the first man to sail around the world solo, non-stop. He became a national hero on his return to Falmouth on 22 April, 1969 after 312 days at sea.

Knox-Johnston donated his winners’s prize money of £5,000, to the family of Donald Crowhurst, another competitor in the race who was lost at sea, later discovered to have committed suicide after attempting to fake his round the world voyage in order to avoid bankruptcy

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston went on to win many other offshore races, including including the two-handed Round Britain Race in 1970 and ‘74.

He co-skippered a Jules Verne attempt with Peter Blake on the catamaran Enza, which saw them set a new record time for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation in 1994 of 74 days 22 hours 18 minutes and 22 seconds.

In 1995 he was knighted for his achievements.

Knox-Johnston founded the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 1996 and has been chairman of the Clipper Venture company ever since. His ‘pay to play’ model has allowed people from all walks of life, with zero prior sailing knowledge, to experience long distance ocean sailing.

In 2007, at the age of 68, he completed his second round-the-world solo voyage on his yacht Saga Insurance. He finished in 4th place in the Velux 5 Oceans Race and was the oldest competitor in the race.

​​In 2014, at the age of 75, Knox-Johnston came 3rd in the transatlantic Route du Rhum race in the Rhum Class.