Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, Falmouth was buzzing with excitement as people gathered to celebrate the 50 years since Sir Robin Knox Johnston’s return from his non-stop solo circumnavigation, and completion of the Golden Globe Race in 1969. With our past President (1995 - 2017) celebrating such a momentous achievement, Little Ship Club members travelled to Falmouth to enjoy the celebrations.
This historical event was marked by Sir Robin crossing the finishing line aboard Suhaili at 15:25 on Monday 22nd April, alongside Alec Rose’s Lively Lady and joined by over 100 vessels, including HMS Mersey. Little Ship Club boats were also included in the mix, including Tim Bizzey’s Storm Petrel and Barrie Martin’s yacht A Day at the Races. Tim Bizzey was joined on Storm Petrel by our Commodore, Anne Billard who commented on the event:
“In joyful disorganisation, all followed as Suhaili crossed the line again, to a cacophony of horns from all assembled.”
The Club’s most adorable member, Rumpole also joined in with the celebrations and can be seen pictured by Lively Lady, soaking in as much sun as he could find (although after such a beautiful weekend, the sun seemed to have disappeared on this remarkable day!)
The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club hosted a buffet reception on Monday evening in which Anne and our President, Mike Golding presented to Sir Robin a ship decanter and a bottle of Old Pulteney whisky. The Little Ship Club was allocated a number of tickets for members to attend the reception in recognition of Sir Robin’s long-standing association with the Club. Anne commented that “the party went on late into the night, fuelled by a generous bar, and music for those keen dancers”.
The weekend also saw the unveiling of the bronze casting of Sir Robin’s footsteps, providing a permanent tribute to his finishing the race. The celebrations were completed by a book signing by Sir Robin for his new book Running Free at the Falmouth Bookseller on Tuesday 23rd April.
Did you attend the celebratory weekend and would like to contribute to this article? Please send your experiences and any photographs of the event to Lindsay@littleshipclub.co.uk.
You can read our members' experiences below.
“It was a beautiful weekend although on the day of the parade (Easter Monday) the sky was greyer than it had been in the previous days. Falmouth was abuzz with the excitement of being part of history, with sailors and non-sailors alike out to celebrate the town’s famous son.
I was very happy that Tim Bizzey, Storm Petrel’s skipper, had asked me to join him for the parade. The Little Ship Club boats were in the thick of the action, as Storm Petrel and A Day At The Races (who had both sailed from the Solent) were tied up on the pontoon with both Suhaili and Lively Lady – we could not have been closer to those incredible ladies! T-Time was 15.25 on 22nd April, and so by 1pm we followed Suhaili out as she was positioning herself to re-create the exact place and time where, 50 years ago to the minute, RK-J made history. Joined by over 100 boats, including HMS Mersey, motorboats large and small, fishing vessels, Clipper boats, even a rowing 8. In joyful disorganisation, all followed as Suhaili crossed the line again, to a cacophony of horns from all assembled.
The evening party at the Royal Cornwall YC was the occasion for the Little Ship Club to present Sir Robin, our President for 20 years, with a ship decanter and bottle of Old Pulteney, which he gracefully accepted from Mike Golding, our current President and Anne Billard, our Commodore. The party went on late into the night, fueled by a generous bar, and music for those keen dancers”