What I Pack: Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

Do you travel light or heavy?

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Photo / onEdition
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Photo / onEdition

Light. A lifetime of solo sailing means packing just the necessities is second nature.

Are you a planner or last minute packer?

When packing for a solo yacht race such as the Velux 5 Oceans, you have to carefully plan, to the point of tedium. There is only so much freeze-dried food one can eat before an apple is in order.

What's the best thing you've brought back from a trip?

An Inuit model of an Inuit hunter in his kayak and an awful lot of memories.

Favourite or most exciting airport to land in?

Any one that I have not visited before, otherwise Angmagssalik, Greenland, because it is notoriously difficult to get to. The day before I arrived they had shot a polar bear on the runway!

Most memorable trip?

The Golden Globe adventures in 1968/9, the first-ever yacht race solo, non-stop around the world. We had no idea if it was even possible. It lasted 312 days and I didn't really want to it to end at the finish. That voyage, all those years ago, still holds the most special of places in my heart.

What do you do while on the plane?

Watch films, do sudoku, read. Solo sailors can go long periods of time without sleep or just grabbing short, sharp naps, so long distance travel has never been a problem. The guys racing in the Velux 5 Oceans get around four hours sleep a day for up to 30 days at a time.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is chairman of Clipper Ventures, organisers of the Ultimate Solo Challenge, the Velux 5 Oceans yacht race which arrives in Wellington this January.

- NZ Herald

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