Friday 17 April 2009

Suhali and two other very famous yachts

With April 22nd rushing up on us and the appeal by Adam T on Messing About in Sailboats for fellow bloggers to make the 22nd "Robin Knox-Johnston day on the web" to celebrate Sir Robin's success in the Golden Globe race, I dug out these photo's taken back in 2005.

We were fortunate to be in Cowes mid week enjoying fantastic August weather. Coming down river in the dinghy, we had spotted the newly restored Gypsy Moth alongside at the UK Sailing Association base. Our curiosity was rewarded when we were invited aboard Gypsy Moth and leaned of the race to be held on the following morning.

We got up early and took station outside Cowes in time to see an illustrious fleet out for the start of a remarkable race.

Three famous contemporaries from what many would describe as the golden days of offshore sailing Suhail, Gypsy Moth IV and Lively Lady, met in Cowes roads to race each other.

As a child growing up in the 60's, these yachts were the stuff of legend, as were the intrepid yachtsmen who sailed in them Robin Knox-Johnston, Francis Chichester and Alec Rose. All famous single handed sailors of the day, all sailed the globe alone and all subsequently received knighthoods in honour of their achievements. To see them all together was fantastic.

Gypsy Moth IV

Lively Lady

Suhali and Lively Lady manoeuvre for the start

Gypsy Moth and Suhali ready at the line

Suhaili sets her spinnaker

The fleet head off towards Egypt Point

I don't know if Sir Robin was aboard, there was a really strong tide and we were making our way east towards Chichester so we didn't get close enough to see the crew. That said it was a marvellous sight.
Full size pictures are available on my Flickr site


  1. Hats off to R K-J & Suhali, but how about a mention for Bernard Moitessier and Joshua. I am sure most of you know the story, but just in case... At the point when the route turned back North, and there were 4 (or 5, counting Crowhurst) Moitessier, well-palced to win, decided that competition was not his thing and went on to sail one-and-ahalf times around the world to get back to Tahiti. The English sailing community seem to have a habit of ignoring French sailing achievements, and it would have been nice if one of the participants in this morning's interview on the Today programme had mentioned Moitessier.

  2. Snork,

    Hopefully we all recognise the achievements of Moitessier and indeed the Frecnh sailing comunity not just in racing, but in keeping alive the maritime traditions with festivals like Brest.

    But the point of my post was a local one, having discovered Suhaili lying in a local boat yard.

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