Updated: Thursday, 03 April 2014 01:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Knox-Johnston to sail solo again at 75

British sailing great Robin Knox-Johnston announced Wednesday he planned to compete in a solo trans-Atlantic race at the age of 75 -- 45 years after he became the first man to sail alone non-stop around the world.


Knox-Johnston to sail solo again at 75

British sailor Robin Knox-Johnston (L) and mayor of London, Boris Johnson pose for photographers on board a yacht on the river Thames beside Tower Bridge in central London on May 31, 2013 - by Justin Tallis

Knox-Johnston has entered his Open 60 yacht Grey Power into the Route de Rhum and should he take part he will be the oldest participant in the history of the 3,500 mile race from France to the Caribbean -- an event he last entered in 1982 in his catamaran Olympus.

"Participating in the 2013 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race reminded me how much I enjoy the excitement of an ocean race," said Knox-Johnston as he announced his entry at Endeavour Quay marina in Gosport, near Portsmouth, on England's south coast.

"Solo sailing is where I feel most at home, no one else can benefit you or let you down, it is all in my hands.

"The Route de Rhum is one of the classics -- it is a very well-run race."

- 'I just feel like it' -

"I just feel like it, why shouldn't one, there's this attitude I find that once you have passed the retirement age of 65 the next day your brain turns to porridge and you have a heart attack every time you come up the stairs, it doesn't happen like that.

"If you keep active and keep fit, you keep active and fit, it's as simple as that," the grandfather of five added.

"I lead quite an active life which I enjoy, I wouldn't want my life any other way and I have a very low threshold of boredom hence when I get bored I think of something to do and then I spend the next year regretting I thought of it.

"Age is just a measure, it's not a measure of your physical ability, that varies between human beings.

"I could drop dead tomorrow or I might last another 30 years, who knows, in the meantime I'm going to get on and enjoy the life I have got.

"I'm not coming out of retirement, I've never been in retirement."

He added: "When I did the Sydney-Hobart I realised I have been missing my racing, I have this boat sitting in the marina at Gosport and why don't I go and take it out and do what I really like doing and that's single-handed and in a race so I entered the Route de Rhum because I thought it would be a nice race and of course it's getting a bit cold in England at that time of year and rather warmer in Guadeloupe so I thought I would wander over to Guadeloupe in the race.

"So it's a question of getting the boat into condition again and setting off from St Malo on November 2 and racing out to Guadeloupe which is really what I enjoy.

"It's single-handed, it's a nice fast boat and nice to sail, she's not as fast as the new modern ones but then they cost £5 million ($8m, 6m euros) and I do not have a spare £5 million so I took what I have got, thank you very much, and enjoy doing it."

Knox-Johnston set his circumnavigation record when he finished the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race on April 22 1969, an event where all the other seven competitors dropped out at various stages, by sailing his boat Suhali into Falmouth 312 days after he left the south-west English port.

Now he is competing in the latest edition of the Route de Rhum, which starts in St Malo, France, on November 2, and finishes in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

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