In 1968, nine men began the treacherous circumnavigation of the globe – alone, with no assistance, nonstop. Only one man finished and he sailed into Falmouth Boat Co.'s boatyard 312 days after he had started.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and his 9.75m ketch rigged yacht Suhaili (the boat considered least likely to complete the race) was the only one to cross the finish afloat, unretired and alive.
This first legendary race began in the August of 1968 and, with the promise of a trophy and a prize of £5000 for winning, nine men left England to sail single handed around the world’s great oceans.
Four competitors retired before crossing the Atlantic and one continued past the Cape of Good Hope before retiring. Nigel Tetley sank with 2000km to go and Donald Crowhurst devastatingly committed suicide in desperation. Flamboyantly, Bernard Moitessier rejected the philosophy of a commercialised race and continued sailing to Tahiti after circling the globe one and a half times.
Only Knox-Johnston was left. Suhaili arrived at our yard in Little Falmouth on April 22 after 312 days alone at sea. He had won the Golden Globe race - an incredible and strenuous feat.
During the past year Falmouth Boat Co. has been refitting three boats to compete in the 50th anniversary 2018 Golden Globe Race. There is no doubt that the race will be as physically, emotionally and psychologically challenging as the original race for the 30 competitors and an incredible commitment and potential achievement for all.