Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON, CBE, today cemented his reputation as one of the most iconic sailors in history when he was awarded the Raymarine / YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award 2008.
Following his amazing exploits in last year's VELUX 5 OCEANS, a single-handed race around the world race, he made history yet again as he claimed the title of UK Yachtsman of the Year for an unprecedented third time.
KNOX-JOHNSTON, who was last year named as one of the first six inductees into the ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame
, first won the accolade in 1969 in recognition of his achievement in becoming the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. In 1994 he was awarded the title for a second time with Peter BLAKE (NZL) for the fastest circumnavigation to win the Jules Verne Trophy.
The prestigious Yachtsman of the Year trophy was presented to KNOX-JOHNSTON by Peter BLAKE's widow, Lady Pippa BLAKE, at a gala luncheon in the magnificent Painted Hall, Greenwich. On receiving the award KNOX-JOHNSTON said: "I wasn't expecting this, it has come as a complete surprise."
Nominated alongside disabled sailor Geoff HOLT, Skandia GBR Team members Sarah AYTON
, Sarah WEBB
and Pippa WILSON
, and fellow VELUX 5 OCEANS competitor Mike GOLDING, KNOX-JOHNSTON said it was a tremendous honour to be chosen from such a great group of people. "It is the UK's top yachting trophy and something I'm very proud of winning."
The prestigious award, which is elected by a ballot of members of the Yachting Journalists' Association following nominations received from members of the boating public, reflects the huge popularity of the legendary mariner after he finished the gruelling 30,000 miles of the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-07. KNOX-JOHNSTON entered the classic yacht race onboard his IMOCA Open 60 Saga Insurance, and inspired people around the world by taking on and completing 'The Ultimate Solo Challenge' in his sixties, celebrating his 68th birthday whilst at sea alone.
Peter METHVEN, President of the British Marine Federation, said he was delighted to bestow a lifetime award of honorary membership to KNOX-JOHNSTON for his outstanding services to yachting and the British Marine Industry.
"Over many years Sir Robin has promoted boating in the United Kingdom. His sense of adventure, bravery and common-sense approach to seamanship, plus his extraordinary determination has been a magnificent example to the younger generation,"