2015-16 Round the World Clipper race
Sir Robin Knox Johnston’s pride and joy is to bring his flotilla of Ocean Racers up the Thames to a press and ceremonial occasion within St. Katharine’s Marina. Being a past director of the yacht basin next to Tower Bridge, he knows full well that his corporate backers from around the world just love the iconic photo shoot. Space for 12 or so of these greyhounds of the sea are welcomed to the usual predetermined moorings.
The stately procession up river is carefully timed so that their arrival is beautifully stage managed. Participating crews and their corporate backers look somewhat out of place and, like me, anxious to be out of the way of any responsibility in mooring procedures. Strategically placed on board the third craft in the procession, I am sure I spotted himself surrounded by the press and, importantly, the media cameramen.
Each of the elegant yachts is usually covered in sponsors’ logos, the majority unknown to me! A hint of their nationality is demonstrated by sprightly crew members. The girlies inevitably right up forward. Sponsors and their guests huddle behind strategic weather breaks right at the stern, hanging on to the mast-like structure which supports the latest navigational gear – sat navs and the like – as the progress around the world is well and truly monitored and reported back to their Portsmouth control centre.
I once served in the council of the Friends of the Maritime Museum which was mostly led by Sir Robin as chairman for a number of years from 1993-1998. His charm, enthusiasm and status was a delight – so much so that the Council presented him, upon his retirement, with a PK drawing of his beloved Suhaili which found a temporary home in Neptune Hall at the National Maritime Museum
The installation of his self-made craft which he had himself navigated non-stop around the world inwas supervised by Sir Robin himself.