Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is the first person to have sailed singlehanded and non-stop around the world. Since that voyage in 1968–69 he has gone on to sail across more than half a million miles of the world's oceans, mark up a number of other records and achievements – including winning the Jules Verne Trophy – and become known as the sailor's sailor.
Knox-Johnston first took to the waves in 1957 as part of the Merchant Navy. Sailing with the British India Steam Navigation Company the Deck Officer gained his Master's Certificate in 1965.
Later that year Knox-Johnston built his own yacht, Suhaili, in Bombay and then sailed it back to England by 1967 – via a short stay in South Africa.
Learning that the French were to take part in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race he entered with Suhaili and left Falmouth in June 1968, returning victorious in April the following year. The others didn't finish.
He won the two-handed Race Around Britain in 1970 and again in 1974. In 1994 Knox-Johnston gained the world record for fastest circumnavigation when sailing with Peter Blake, completing the trip in less than 75 days and picking up the Jules Verne Trophy on the way. Then in 2006–07, at the age of 68, he came fourth in the Velux 5 Oceans Solo Around the World Yacht Race.
In 1992 Knox-Johnston became president of the Sail Training Association and was on the board of directors at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich between 1992 and 2002. He has been named UK Yachtsman of the Year three times, ISAF Sailor of the Year with Peter Blake in 1994 and was one of the first six inducted into the ISAF Hall of Fame. He was knighted in 1995.
Robin Knox-Johnston is the author of:
- A World of My Own
- Robin Round the World
- Last But Not Least
- The Bunkside Companion
- The Columbus Venture
- Twilight of Sail
- The BOC Challenge
- The Cape of Good Hope
- History of Yachting
- Sea Ice and Rock
- Cape Horn
- Beyond Jules Verne
- Force of Nature