In 1969, I watched Robin Knox-Johnson on television, entering Falmouth at the end of his single-handed circumnavigation.
Like many other people, I was hugely impressd by this feat. 37 years later I have bought a boat. (No excuses – just facts).
This week, like many others again, I have watched him again on the television, preparing to sail solo again – in the Velux 5Oceans race.
This time, we will be able to closely follow his course and that of Mike Golding and the other six competitors. The major difference between 1969 and now is in the technology available. But, in this race, the human element is more important – and experience a huge advantage.
I suspect most of the preparation has been spent in the exhausting task of fiddling with the technology (electronic and otherwise), and certainly the reporting of it gives it far more respect. However, as you watch, forget the technology, keep an eye on the skippers – they are what makes this race.
We wish them swift passages, sound landfalls and a safe return.