Happy Sir Robin Knox Johnston Earth Day!

image While most people, including the Mello family, are celebrating Earth Day, today also marks the 40th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s completion of the first-ever single-handed solo non-stop circumnavigation.

Celebratory in it’s success yet profoundly revelatory in how man impacts our planet, there is no better way to raise awareness of the Earth’s challenges than sailing round it in a small boat. Johnston was the first to do this 30,000 mile trip and 313 days at sea in a 32 ft teak ketch. To put this feat in its proper perspective, solo non stop circumnavigation is often referred to as the Mount Everest of sailing; only thing is over 1,500 people have made it to the top of the world while less than 100 have sailed around it alone without stopping.

This “holiday” came to my attention via Twitter and the concept seems to have been launched by the great Messing About In Sailboats blog which is not to be confused with the equally great Messing About In Ships podcast.

I’m sure there are going to be lots of great posts with videos and old newspaper clippings and amazing sea stories so check back at Messing About In Sailboats to see how they aggregate this stuff. If you’re on Twitter, make sure you follow the hash tag #RKJ today. (Since you’re over there, might as well follow me, too. ;-)

Since I used to be the executive director of the American Sail Training Association, I guess my affinity for Sir Robin probably comes from his incredible support of and influence over the tall ships / sail training industry as chairman of the Sail Training Association (UK). That organization has since split in two becoming Tall Ships Youth Trust and Sail Training International. Although his time at STA preceded mine at ASTA, I had the great fortune of meeting him on several occasions and he is definitely a “larger than life figure.”

Last year, Jenny and I went to the New Bedford Whaling Museum to see a special screening of Deep Water. While the movie may be “about” Donald Crowhurst, it’s really about Sir Robin Knox Johnston and all his fellow competitors. It’s an incredible story of the stresses and strains of the long distance solo sailor and you’ll come away even more impressed by the remarkable men and women who participate in this sport. (Make sure you also read NY Times – Study of Solo Sailor Stress and How Humans Cope) If you read this blog but have not watched Deep Water yet, get right over to Netflix and order it, you won’t be disappointed.

YouTube – Deep Water – New Trailer!

Finally, ScuttButt tweeted some good advice for today everyday:

Scuttlebutt on Twitter re RKJ Day

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Peter A. Mello

Father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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