Sir Robin Knox-Johnston put in a powerful final 500 miles to grab third place in his class of the singlehanded Route du Rhum race from St Malo to Guadeloupe. The 75-year old covered the 3,542-mile course in 20d 7h 52m 22s and actually covered nearly 1,000 miles more than the direct route in his 60-footer Grey Power.
Sir Robin, who came to fame for being the winner, in 1968, of the Golden Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race in his little yacht Suhaili, had played down any chance of a podium result before the start but has both a stubborn streak and was determined to demonstrate that age is no barrier to being competitive.
“I am absolutely over the moon and ecstatic to get third,” he said.
“I didn't expect to get on the podium when I started the race. I was up against some damn good competition with lighter, more modern boats than mine that are easier to manage. My boat is a hard boat to work. The top international solo sailors were racing and it was tough.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was quite fantastic. There were three of us battling for the second and third spot. I got competitive and that was tiring. It came down to boat speed. She's a fast boat I've got. I managed to hold onto my lead but I couldn't beat Andrea Mura (who finished second) despite catching him up.
“I was beaten by two very good people. I congratulate Anne and Andrea.”
The boat will stay on the western side of the Atlantic until being raced back “with a few friends” to Britain next year.