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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 May 2007, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Hero's return for Knox-Johnston

Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has returned to UK shores after a second solo circumnavigation of the world, and vowed never to do it again.

The 68-year-old completed the Velux 5 Oceans, billed as sailing's ultimate solo challenge, on 4 May, finishing in 4th place in Bilbao on Saga Insurance.

Sir Robin, the oldest competitor in the race, had a Royal Navy escort when he sailed up the Solent to Portsmouth.

He said: "I would not have missed it, but I will not do it solo again."

Beagle Channel 'hell'

Sir Robin, from Ipplepen in Devon, made history in 1969 when he took 312 days to become the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world.

Robin Knox-Johnston
I just hope that I have encouraged other people of my age to be active and go out and do things with their life
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
An 11-gun salute from Royal Yacht Squadron greeted him as he sailed past Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Saturday. His daughter Sara and five grandchildren were among those who welcomed him home.

"It was a fantastic welcome home with so many boats and people who came out to see me," he said as he cradled a well-earned bottle of Champagne.

"I'm thoroughly glad I did it.

"I'm fitter and it was mentally stimulating for me."

But he had been very scared sailing through the Beagle Channel after rounding Cape Horn, notorious for the combination of strong winds and big swells.

He said: "That was the hardest part.

"It was pretty frightening and it was a hell of a physical job."

Sir Robin Knox Johnston in Saga Insurance
Sir Robin said he was looking forward to a break from sailing
He added that he was now looking forward to a break from sailing.

"I will draw a line under this adventure and think about what I might do next.

"I have some ideas but they are not developed yet so I am keeping them to myself."

He added: "I just hope that I have encouraged other people of my age to be active and go out and do things with their life.

"I don't think the age worked for or against me.

"There was never a time when I thought I could have done better when I was younger. I don't think it makes a difference at all."

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston arrives back in Portsmouth


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