One of the world’s most epic feats of sailing endurance began in Falmouth 50 years ago next week when Robin Knox-Johnston set sail on his 30,000 miles solo circumnavigation of the globe in his yacht Suhaili.

Headquarters for the journalists and Robin was the famous Chain Locker pub and Marine Hotel a place where many seafarers enjoyed a pint.

It was on June 14th 1968 that Robin left North Quay in the Suhaili at the start of his 308-day long non-stop voyage from Falmouth to Falmouth via the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.

Prior to setting sail the late Padre David Roberts presented the 29th year old Merchant Navy officer with an inscribed bible.

A quick beer and an “oggie” in the Chain Locker with Di, Bob and Jock Drennan along with chef Nigel Andrews was the last meal Robin would have in the UK for four months. Before he left the Chain Locker Robin booked a room for his return promising to give Di and Bob a date from off Australia.

In the inner harbour Robin hoisted Suhaili’s sails but had to motor out to clear the harbour due to the calm conditions. The Huntress skippered by Robin Vinnicombe carried the intrepid sailor’s parents who had gone afloat to say farewell.

Writing in his book “A World of my own” Robin said: “ Six miles out of Falmouth, Huntress gave a farewell blast on her foghorn; Mother and Father, Mike and Hazel and my friends waved, and then they turned back. It was a rather shattering moment as the first feelings of true loneliness came to me and I began to wonder what I should be like in a week’s time if I felt like this now, and I wished I knew how I would react to the problem of being alone for long periods.”

On April 22nd 1969 Suhaili crossed the finishing line between Pendennis Point and Black Rock escorted by a flotilla of craft that included the harbour tug Arusha, sporting a British India Steam Navigation Company (BISN) funnel to recognise the fact that Robin was a former BISN officer.

Three days of commemorative events are planned in Falmouth next week.

Sir Robin will sail in to Falmouth aboard Suhaili on Monday 11th June. She will be joined by two other historic solo circumnavigators, Sir Francis Chichester’s Gipsy Moth IV, and Sir Alec Rose’s Lively Lady, together with the entire fleet of 2018 Golden Globe Race yachts and skippers who will be setting out from Falmouth on 14th June on the first stage of a 50th anniversary race around the Globe. All yachts will be moored at the Falmouth Haven Marina and a series of exhibitions and talks are planned in the town’s creative venues during the 3-day event.