famous round the world yachtsman

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famous round the world yachtsman

Gerbault and the “Firecrest”

Having abandoned his profession as a civil engineer, Alain Gerbault sailed a 39- ft yacht round the world. Though several times death all but claimed this fearless adventurer, he achieved an astonishing triumph


Alain Gerbault photographed at Suva, in the Fiji Islands

AFTER he had sailed round the world in the old English cutter Firecrest , Alain Gerbault , the French yachtsman, linguist and lawn tennis player, had a new yacht built for him and sailed single- handed back to the Pacific. There he took up his abode among the Polynesians. In two of his books, The Flight of the Firecrest and In Quest of the Sun (Hodder and Stoughton), Gerbault tells the story of his world voyage and reveals part of his character. His attitude towards life is the opposite of that expected of the conventional Frenchman, as Gerbault states his decision to avoid cities and to lead the plain life of the sailor and bathe body and mind in sunshine.

A MODERN ULYSSES. Gerbault photographed at Suva, in the Fiji Islands. Tired of cities and civilization, this intrepid amateur sailor set out to find solace on a voyage which took him round the world.

His imagination and sensitiveness isolated him at school, but he found that the sea offered solace. His father owned a yacht, and Gerbault made friends with the children of the Breton fishermen. He dreamed of the day when he would own his own boat.

Gerbault’s imagination was fired by reading books about the sea, and even during the war of 1914- 18, when he was an aviator, he longed to be afloat. He and two comrades decided to buy a yacht and sail her round the world.

As it happened, the two friends were killed, and after the war Gerbault decided that he, the survivor, would carry out the voyage alone. He had been trained as a civil engineer, but abandoned his profession and began to look for a yacht that he could handle by himself.

After having searched in France for a year Gerbault crossed the Channel. He found the Firecrest near Southampton and bought her. The Firecrest was the type of yacht that few experienced cruising men would have selected for a blue- water cruise, but Gerbault was enthusiastic about her, and rightly so, for she did all that he asked her to do. The Firecrest was a racing cruiser, designed by the late Dixon Kemp , and built by P. T. Harris at Rowhedge, Essex, in 1892. Her overall length was 39 feet, her length on the water- line 30 feet, her beam 8 ft 6- in, and her draught 7 feet. She had a lead keel weighing three and a half tons, with another three tons of inside ballast.

The Firecrest was flush- decked, with a companion- way, a hatch forward, two skylights and a sail- locker hatch. A 6- ft canvas folding dinghy was carried folded on deck.

The yacht was built of oak and teak. Her accommodation was divided into three compartments - forecastle, saloon and the cabin aft. This sleeping cabin had two bunks, with lockers under them, a wash- basin with a fifteen- gallons water tank and book- racks.

The saloon had lockers and a folding table; the forecastle contained two folding cots and the galley. Gerbault cooked on a paraffin pressure stove hung on gimbals to counteract the roll of the yacht.

His other two water- tanks were forward, and he stored provisions in the lockers. Light was provided by an oil lamp and by candles hung on gimbals. He preferred the cutter rig to that of ketch or schooner on the ground that he found it easier to reef than to furl sails and because the cutter rig gave him the maximum efficiency for his needs.

Gerbault took the Firecrest to the Riviera. She was tested by gales in the Bay of Biscay during this passage, and fully justified his faith in her. He spent more than a year cruising on the Riviera with an English boy for shipmate, playing in lawn- tennis tournaments. He set out single- handed from Cannes in April, 1923, for the first stage, a sail to Gibraltar, when he felt sure he was fit to stand the physical and mental strain.

At this period Gerbault carried a squaresail and ran before a gale, logging thirty miles in three hours, an exceptional run for a boat only 30 feet on the water- line.

With such an unusually narrow yacht the single- handed sailor found the task of getting in the squaresail dangerous, as he appears to have made the mistake of carrying on too long before a rising gale. The yard of the squaresail was 20 feet long, and in trying to get it down Gerbault found that the lee- end touched the water, and he nearly went over the side. It took him over an hour to get sail and yard stowed on deck, and the experience was such that he vowed never to use it again. He had then had sixteen hours at the tiller, and was glad to heave to for the night.

A photograph of Alain Gerbault sitting in the bow of the Firecrest

AFTER 24,000 MILES. A photograph of Alain Gerbault sitting in the bow of the Firecrest after his arrival at Suva. The Firecrest , which had suffered considerably on her voyage through bad weather and running aground, was hauled up on a slipway at Suva, where some necessary repairs were made. After having left here the yachtsman sailed west to New Guinea, and then passed through the Torres Strait, north of Australia.

The old- fashioned plank- on- edge type of cutter naturally proved hard on her gear in a storm in the turbulent Mediterranean. Gerbault had scarcely started before he was busy with repairs. He had roller- reefing on his mainsail, and the gooseneck of that broke; a topping lift parted; and then his jib halyard gave way and spilled the jib into the sea. He saved the sail at the risk of his life.

When the gale ceased, a period of light airs and calms ensued that lasted for nearly three weeks, and it was not until May 15 that Gerbault anchored at Gibraltar. He had a well- stocked library aboard, and, more important, had the right temperament for enduring protracted calms. This gift of patience is essential for the deep- sea cruising man, and unless he possesses it he will subject his nerves to a strain that will be greater than that imposed by a gale.

Some of the dockyard “mateys” at Gibraltar still remember the state of the Firecrest’s gear when she arrived; it was certainly in a bad condition. Everything was put right, however, and in a few weeks Gerbault prepared for a non- stop sail from Gibraltar to New York. It was an ambitious effort, as no one had attempted the east to west passage non- stop and single- handed before.

In addition to the necessity of overhauling the vessel before embarking on such a trip, there arose the important problem of food and water. Gerbault took aboard the following supplies: 80 gallons of water, 80 lb of salt beef, 60 lb of ship’s biscuit, 30 lb of butter, 20 lb of bacon, 24 pots of jam and 50 lb of potatoes. He left Gibraltar on June 6, and was fortunate enough to find enough wind to blow him clear of the Rock, so that at night he saw the Tangier light. Then the wind, which had increased to gale force, veered right ahead, and blew his jib to pieces; therefore he reefed his mainsail and hove to under that and the foresail while be turned in for the night.

Next day he had more trouble. The patent roller- reefing gear, which had been repaired at Gibraltar, failed because of a fracture; and the mainsail began to part at the seams; thus before he was two days out of Gibraltar he was busy repairing his mainsail. He passed Cape Spartel, the African corner of the Strait of Gibraltar, and gained the open Atlantic, picking up the trade wind on the third day.

Noon observations showed Gerbault that the Firecrest had covered fifty miles in the first two days from Gibraltar. Considering the strong set of the currents into the Mediterranean from the Atlantic, and in view of the fact that he had left the yacht to herself at night, he had done fairly well. When he settled down to run before the trade wind, he found that the design of the Firecrest needed a hand at the tiller all the time; thus he steered for twelve hours, after which he hove to and went below to sleep, turning out at five o’clock in the morning to cook breakfast. This consisted of porridge, bacon, ship’s biscuit and butter, and tea and condensed milk. In common with most other yachtsmen who have cooked in the forecastle of a small yacht, he found that the roll was too much for the gimbals, so that whatever was on them occasionally rolled off.

The course of Gerbault’s voyage is shown on these sketch maps

ROUND THE WORLD. The course of Gerbault’s voyage is shown on these sketch maps. He began his trip when he left Cannes, in the French Riviera, in April, 1923, and ended it when he reached Le Havre in July, 1929. The Firecrest , an English boat, was built at Rowhedge, Essex, in 1892. Her overall length was 39 feet, her length on the water- line 30 feet, her beam 8 ft 6- in, and her draught 7 feet. The yacht, which Gerbault bought near Southampton, was built of oak and teak. Her accommodation was divided into forecastle, saloon and cabin aft. This vessel weathered all the storms and gales of the ocean and her name will never be forgotten by yachting enthusiasts.

The course of Gerbault’s voyage is shown on these sketch maps

The need for constant steering necessarily added greatly to his labours, and before long he had more trouble with his gear. The bobstay, running from the end of the bowsprit to the stem, broke, and he had to go out to the end of the bowsprit to repair the wire rope. Then the foot of the mainsail ripped.

In the neighbourhood of Madeira, which he did not sight, the trade wind fell off. During the calms that followed, Gerbault experimented with his sails and found that by furling the mainsail, setting the trysail and trimming the jib in flat he could get the Firecrest to hold her course unaided by the tiller. He was therefore able to sail round the clock, although the speed under this rig was not as good as that under the full mainsail: thus freed from the tyranny of the tiller he was able to enjoy life a little more.

When Gerbault had been at sea for a month he found that the bulk of his water had gone sour. He carried fifty gallons in two new casks that he had bought at Gibraltar, and this had gone bad. Only half of the thirty gallons he had stored in galvanized iron tanks remained; thus he had to ration himself to half a glass of water a day. When the wind came again his sails kept ripping; and then his salt beef began to go bad. This happened when he had about 2,400 miles to sail.

The cutter Firecrest, in which Alain Gerbault sailed round the world

THE YACHT that sailed round the world. The cutter Firecrest , in which Alain Gerbault sailed round the world alone, taking some six years to accomplish an astounding feat of endurance and navigation. In his 39 ft boat, which was over thirty years old, the French navigator sailed more than 40,000 miles. His course was from east to west.

Before long, various parts of the wire rigging gave trouble. Gerbault found that for many purposes rope is better than steel wire, because rope will bear jerks and jolts much better than wire. He cut his water ration to a cup a day, and a fortnight passed before he was able to catch a quart of rain- water in a sail. Then he contracted fever and was too listless to pick up the flying fish that flopped on to the deck during the night. When he recovered he threw the cask of salt beef overboard. He was successful in catching fish, dangling his feet in the water to attract them and then spearing them as they came near to inspect. Not until August did he meet heavy rain, and this yielded him ten gallons of water. The fish diet then gave him a mild form of fish poisoning, and he had to restrict that type of food.

Gales swept the yacht as she sailed through the hurricane belt. On one occasion Gerbault had to climb into the rigging to get out of reach of a sea that broke aboard the Firecrest , burying her deck under tons of water. The sea broke the bowsprit and caused part of the rigging to give way, so that the mast was in danger.

To add to his troubles, both the stoves were out of action, and he considered running for Bermuda, the nearest port. After having had some rest, however, he set to work on one of the stoves and obtained a hot meal. He then repaired the rigging and his broken bowsprit. After this he was determined to make for New York, which he eventually reached 101 days out from Gibraltar.

Gerbault then went to France, leaving the Firecrest in New York. He returned to her in 1924, to fit her out for the passage to the South Seas. The refitted Firecrest was a great improvement on the old ship. She had a new Oregon pine bowsprit, new standing rigging, new sails, a water tank holding forty- four gallons, a bronze bobstay, a hollow boom and a new roller- reefing gear. The original gaff mainsail was replaced by a triangular one. Among the stores were a bow and arrows for shooting fish, rifles, a mile and a half of film and a library of books.

Sailing from New York in November, Gerbault met bad weather almost from the start. On November 5, when he had not seen a vessel for two days, he saw that his port light was out, and went- below to light it, but stopped to prepare a meal. He was filling the lamp when a steamer scraped the bowsprit of the Firecrest . Hastening on deck, Gerbault saw her lights as she continued on her course, evidently unaware that she had scraped the yacht, which she had probably not seen in the darkness. The force of the blow tore the bitts out of the foredeck of the Firecrest and broke the forestay and the jibstay, so that the mast threatened to go at any moment. Gerbault carried out temporary repairs, but had an anxious time in the gales that battered the yacht before she anchored in the harbour of St. George, Bermuda.

Thus, in spite of his elaborate fitting- out in New York, the accident of the collision and the effect of the gales on the crippled yacht reduced her to a sorry state in little more than a fortnight. As he had set out before stretching his new sails the gales had spoiled the set of the mainsail, and he had to have that recut.

Much of the work done in New York had to be done all over again in Bermuda. One expensive job was the re- caulking of the hull, which meant that the copper sheathing had to be raised and then put into place again. Gerbault had been in France while his yacht was being refitted in New York; but in Bermuda he was on the spot, supervising the work and seeing that it was done to his satisfaction.

Repairs took about three months. Gerbault then sailed for Colon, the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal , which he reached without mishap. He was towed through the Canal, and spent some time at Balboa, on the Pacific side. Here he met Harry Pidgeon , a Los Angeles photographer, who was on the concluding stage of a single- handed voyage round the world in the yawl Islander , only 34 feet long, which Pidgeon had built himself. He was the second man to sail round the world alone.

Gerbault’s next stage was from Panama to the Galapagos Islands. Because of the medley of currents and the fickle and light winds the voyage from Panama to the Galapagos Islands is one of the most tedious stretches of water for a sailing vessel. On one occasion Gerbault had sailed 450 miles through this stretch of water in about a fortnight, but because of the adverse current he had travelled only five miles. Then he managed to creep south to Malpelo Island, an isolated rock 300 miles from the mainland of South America, and slowly forged ahead out of the northerly set of currents.

At last, thirty- seven days out of Panama, he reached Chatham Island, in the Galapagos, some 800 miles from Panama. Here he obtained water and fruit, and prepared for the long sail of 3,000 miles to the Gambier Archipelago.

GERBAULT ARRIVING AT LE HAVRE in July, 1929, at the end of his voyage

ARRIVING AT LE HAVRE in July, 1929, at the end of his spectacular voyage. Gerbault avoided a constant watch on the tiller since he found that if he furled his mainsail, set the trysail and trimmed the jib in flat, the Firecrest could hold her course. This picture shows the cutter being towed to a landing stage.

Gerbault ran south, losing the trade wind in a week of calm. When the wind returned the rigging was in such a bad state that several mishaps happened almost at once. A backstay went and so did both topping lifts and six mast- hoops, and the oak tiller snapped. After, forty- nine days at sea Gerbault anchored in the harbour of Rikitea. In the months he spent with the natives Gerbault learnt their language, and then sailed 1,000 miles north to the Marquesas, where he again made many Polynesian friends, becoming more and more friendly with them. He sailed on to the coral islands of the Tuamotu group, and so to Tahiti. His attitude to the officials was to avoid them, and he says that he was- almost as solitary living aboard the Firecrest in the harbour of Papeete as when he had been at sea; but he made many friends among the natives. When he sailed to Bora Bora, an island near Tahiti, he became friendly with the officers of British and French naval sloops.

It was at Wallis Island that Gerbault had the misfortune to be blown on to a reef while at anchor. He had previously lost his anchors and had borrowed one, which failed to hold the yacht in a gale. The Firecrest knocked off her lead keel on the reef, and Gerbault was swimming to the shore when, relieved of the weight of the keel, the Firecrest floated over the top of the reef and followed him to the beach, digging a berth for herself in the sand.

Wallis Island consists of an island and a number of islets surrounded by a lagoon which is enclosed by a coral reef. Gerbault entered this lagoon by a passage in the wall of coral. The Firecrest was wrecked on a reef in this lagoon and went ashore, without the lead keel, on the beach of the main island. About 5,000 Polynesians lived on the island, but there were no shipwrights or smiths.

The first thing Gerbault did was to right the Firecrest . He took all the ballast out and moved his personal belongings to the homes of friends ashore. With the aid of natives the yacht was righted and shored up. The lead keel was uncovered by the tide, which left the reef at low water. A lighter was floated over the keel at high water, and the keel was lashed to the bottom of the lighter and floated by this means to the beach near the hull of the yacht.

Gerbault replaced his belongings aboard the Firecrest and lived in the yacht while he waited for aid from civilization. His chief concern was to obtain new bolts for the keel. After many weeks a steamship having a forge aboard entered the lagoon, and the chief engineer forged two iron bolts and made four bronze bolts out of an old propeller shaft.

After several failures the keel was placed in position by shifting it into the water and floating the hull over it. Two Chinese, however, who were the only artisans on the island, made the holes in the wooden keel so large that when the tide rose the water leaked in at an alarming rate. At this stage the French naval sloop Cassiopee , sent to aid Gerbault by the French Minister of Marine, arrived. Before long her crew had fixed the keel firmly in position.

A picturesque view of the yacht Firecrest moored on the River Seine

IN PARIS. A picturesque view of the yacht Firecrest moored on the River Seine, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. After his amazing trip, the French mariner published the story of his adventures and sailed back alone in another yacht to the Pacific Islands where he lived among the Polynesians, whose company he found congenial.

During his stay of some months Gerbault had become so popular with the islanders that they asked him to stay and be their chief, but when the Firecrest was repaired he put to sea. On arriving at Suva, in the Fiji Islands, he had the Firecrest hauled up on a slipway, and further repairs were made. After having left Fiji, Gerbault put in at various islands and reached New Guinea, and then passed through the Torres Strait, north of Australia. He nearly came to grief in the reef- strewn waters when his anchor chain parted, after he had lost his kedge anchor because of the hawser snapping. Without an anchor, he was relieved to see a native sloop, and when he hailed the men they offered to tow him to Coconut Island. He took the tow- rope, and several natives came aboard; these men were alarmed when the Firecrest heeled over in the- brisk breeze, as they were not- familiar with this habit of narrow, deep- draught yachts.

At the island, Gerbault was unable to buy an anchor, but managed to borrow one on condition he left it at Thursday Island for the owner’s friends to collect. Gerbault obtained ground tackle at Thursday Island and sailed clear of the reefs. He went on to the

Cocos- Keeling Islands, where he saw the remains of the famous German raider Emden .

Gerbault then sailed across the Indian Ocean to Rodriguez, and for the first time trusted himself to a pilot. The Firecrest touched the coral in a narrow channel, the pilot not realizing that a deep- keeled yacht carries considerable way on her.

At the next island, Reunion, he had various ironwork repaired, which was a wise resolve, as the passage to Durban was a rough one. It was even rougher to Cape Town, where Gerbault dry- docked the Firecrest , finding that teredo worms had eaten away part of the rudder stock.

His next stages were St. Helena and Ascension Island, and the passage from Ascension to the Cape Verde Islands brought trouble. He crossed the Equator and slowly worked north up to the islands, but was baffled by bead winds when near them.

Porto Grande, the chief harbour in the group, is in the island of St. Vincent, which is separated from the island of St. Antonio by a channel a few miles wide through which the trade wind blows with some force, raising a strong current. Instead of standing clear of this by going round St. Antonio, where he would have had ample sea room, and turning to approach Porto Grande from the north, Gerbault made many attempts at the channel; thus he became tired out. The wind fell light, and he slept, to be awakened by a slight shock as the Firecrest stranded on a reef a few yards from the beach of St. Antonio, where the current had carried her.

Gerbault’s activity in getting ashore and locating a village when he realized that nobody had seen his plight saved the Firecrest , as the weather remained fine long enough for her to be taken off. A hole had been knocked in her side, but this was plugged, and, with a crew manning a line of buckets to keep her afloat, she was towed across the channel to Porto Grande. She was repaired and Gerbault sailed, but she leaked so badly that he turned back and decided to stay at St. Vincent for some months, superintending repairs and writing a book.

When he left for the fast time it was obvious to him that the Firecrest would not last much longer; she leaked, compelling him to work hard at the pump to keep her afloat. He put in at the Azores and then sailed on the last stage of the long voyage, arriving at Le Havre in July, 1929.

More than six years had elapsed since the Firecrest had sailed from Cannes, and she had covered more than forty thousand miles.

Gerbault proved himself a skilful navigator, but was less happy with his gear. He was hampered by having to start with an old boat. Such a voyage is hard on a little yacht which was over thirty years old when she had left France. Slocum and Pidgeon sailed in new boats.

Despite the hardships of life in a small yacht, Gerbault had energy to spare for tennis and football when he went ashore in tropical ports. Twice wrecked, he patched up the Firecrest and completed the voyage when a man of less persistence would have admitted defeat.

Physical fitness served Gerbault in good stead on many occasions. When the yacht had stranded at a desolate spot on St. Antonio, he half- ran and half- walked over broken country under a hot sun without the least fatigue, although he had had little rest for four days. Then he worked hard removing gear from the yacht and gave a cinema entertainment to the islanders who had come to his aid; not until then did he think about sleep.

Gerbault’s determination and his physical fitness were outstanding features of a wonderful voyage of circumnavigation.

AN ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD thronged the quay at Le Havre to greet Alain Gerbault when he landed

AN ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD thronged the quay at Le Havre to greet the solitary yachtsman when he landed in France. This photograph shows the adventurer being helped from his vessel by some friends. During the last stages of the voyage from St. Vincent (Cape Verde islands), Gerbault had not only to work his yacht alone, but also to labour at the pumps to keep her afloat, as she was in such a poor condition.

You can read more on “Captain Slocum the Pioneer” , “First Voyage Round the World” and

“Pidgeon and the Islander” on this website.


Portrait / Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 1st sailor to complete a non-stop single-handed round-the-world voyage

famous round the world yachtsman

Portrait of the first sailor to complete a non-stop single-handed round-the-world race - Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in 1969, at the age of 29.

Chloé Torterat

An engagement in the merchant navy that will give him his passion..

William Robert Patrick "Robin" Knox Johnston was born on March 17, 1939 in Putney, London. Eldest of four brothers, he is interested in walking, boxing and swimming but what he likes most of all is the holidays at his grandparents' house where he works on an Austin 7. He discovered his passion for the sea when he enlisted in the Merchant Navy in 1957 as a deck officer in British India until 1965. In 1962, he married his childhood friend Suzanne, who died in 2003 of ovarian cancer, who gave him a daughter Sara, born in Bombay in 1963. Today he is the happy grandfather of five grandchildren.

The first man to circumnavigate the world single-handed and non-stop

In 1968, Robin Knox Johnston was 29 years old and decided to embark on a solo circumnavigation of the world. He left Falmouth harbour on 14 June 1968 on board the Suhaili a 32-footer for the Golden Globe Challenge. In spite of an autopilot failure in Australia , she passed Cape Horn on January 17, 1969. Of the nine competitors, he was the only one to complete his round-the-world voyage after 313 days at sea and 30,123 miles covered. He won both prizes in the race and donated the 5,000 pounds to a fund set up to support the Crowhurst family (Donald Crowhurst, one of the competitors killed himself after trying to fake his circumnavigation of the world). So it was on 22 April 1969 that he joined Falmouth on board his ship, one of the smallest boats to have attempted the competition. He thus became the first man to complete a single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.

An ever-present passion for sailing

In 1970 and again in 1974, he won the Round Britain Race with Leslie Williams for the first date and Gerry Boxall for the second. In 1977, Robin Knox-Johnston and the Williams teamed up with Peter Blake for the Whitbread , aboard the maxi-yacht Condor. They won the stages led by Robin Knox-Johnston, the second and fourth.

In 1992, in a team with Peter Blake , he attempted for the second time a non-stop circumnavigation of the world, completed in less than 80 days and set a new record after 74 days, 22 hours and 18 minutes, and won the Jules Vernes Trophy (rewarding the fastest possible circumnavigation of the world under sail , crewed and non-stop) in 1994. Their first attempt ended in failure when their catamaran , Enza New Zealand hit a floating object.

In 1995, he founded Clipper Ventures Plc (to sail around the world with a loan boat and crew ) and in 1996 organised the first Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Today he is Chairman of Clipper Ventures Plc and is working on the development of the race.

In 2007, at the age of 68, he took part in the Velux 5 Oceans Race and completed his second single-handed round-the-world race aboard SAGA Insurance . He finished fourth on May 4, 2007. He is also the oldest competitor.

Today at the age of 75, he is about to take the start of the 10 e edition of the Route du Rhum on 2nd November, a race in which he will once again be the doyen of adventure .

famous round the world yachtsman

Parallel activities related to the world of the sea

In parallel to these great races, Robin Knox-Johnston was President of the Sail Training Association from 1992 to 2001, an association for the development of sailing among young people. At the end of his term of office, he raised £11 million, enabling the replacement of the STA topsail schooners by two bricks. He was also Director of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich from 1992 to 2002 and is still Director of the Cornwall National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, where Suhaili which was prepared to participate in the Round the Island Race in June 2005.

He was knighted in 1995 and was voted British yachtsman of the year three times.

famous round the world yachtsman

famous round the world yachtsman

Sir Francis Chichester

A record breaker in the air and at sea, Sir Francis Chichester was a true British trailblazer

Sir Francis Chichester (1901–1972) was a British sailor and aviator, famed for being the first person to single-handedly sail around the world making only one stop.

Sir Francis Chichester and aviation

Born in Barnstaple, Devon, in 1901, as a young man Chichester was a pioneering aviator making his first solo flight in 1929 to Australia. In 1931 he became the first man to fly solo across the Tasman Sea from east to west (New Zealand to Australia), in a de Havilland Gypsy Moth aircraft fitted with floats.

During the Second World War (1939–45), Chichester wrote navigation instruction manuals for the Air Ministry, and pioneered fighter pilot flying navigation techniques that did not require the use of maps.

Gipsy Moth III and transatlantic racing

In 1958, Chichester was diagnosed with cancer. Surgeons recommended the removal of one of his lungs and gave him six months to live. His wife refused to let them operate and helped nurse him back to health. Her nursing was successful and in 1960 Chichester took part in, and won, the first solo transatlantic sailing race in Gipsy Moth III . He sailed from Plymouth to New York in just 40 days, and later claimed his race entry was part of his recovery plan!

Entering into the race again in 1962 he came second but beat the record he’d set on his first race, completing the journey in just 33 days.

Gipsy Moth IV and circumnavigating the world

At the age of 65, Chichester undertook his biggest challenge yet – solo circumnavigation of the world in his yacht, Gipsy Moth IV. Departing on 29 January 1967, he returned to Plymouth around Cape Horn in just 119 days. It was the fastest voyage around the world for a small vessel, and included the longest passage ever made by a small sailing vessel without entering a port of call – 15,500 miles.

Chichester returned to a hero’s welcome, which was televised globally, and was knighted in July 1968. He died just four years later.

Gipsy Moth IV’ s second circumnavigation

In 2004, a collaboration between Yachting Monthly magazine and the United Kingdom Sailing Academy brought about a campaign to restore Gipsy Moth IV to her former glory. She was relaunched on 20 June 2005 and embarked on a second circumnavigation of the world.

Discover where the Gipsy Moth is today

Visit the Gipsy Moth pub in Greenwich

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A budget the size of a cruise ship … Colin Firth in The Mercy, one of two StudioCanal films about amateur yachtsman Donald Crowhurst.

Doomed sailor Donald Crowhurst is ripe for a biopic – as two rival films demonstrate

Colin Firth stars in one of two new films about yachtsman Crowhurst and his disastrous 1968 round-the-world race. Is the studio distributing both films hoping for smooth sailing?

F ifty years ago, an amateur sailor named Donald Crowhurst entered the Golden Globe solo round-the-world yacht race. He had little funding and less experience compared with his eight rivals, but he set off, anyway, on 31 October 1968, on a trimaran he had helped to modify and equip. It wasn’t what you’d call shipshape. The boat’s wiring was a bird’s nest, and screws kept coming loose, but if Crowhurst had delayed any longer he would have been disqualified. Dreaming of being the first person to circumnavigate the planet singlehandedly without touching land en route, he left England and his family behind.

Brave British hobbyist reaching for the impossible? Homegrown pluck and ingenuity versus foreign expertise? It’s the kind of story that keeps the UK’s film industry afloat, so it’s hardly surprising that, in February, Crowhurst’s voyage can be seen in The Mercy, directed by James Marsh , the Oscar-winning director of Man on Wire and The Theory of Everything . Adding yet more Oscar power, Colin Firth stars as Crowhurst, and Rachel Weisz plays his supportive but understandably nervous wife.

It’s not too surprising, either, that The Mercy isn’t the only Crowhurst project on the horizon. In March – a release date hasn’t been confirmed – you can see his exploits again in a film entitled, simply, Crowhurst, although it’s fair to say that it has a less illustrious cast and crew. Its star, Justin Salinger, is hardly a household name, and its director, Simon Rumley, specialises in micro-budget horror movies.

Donald Crowhurst prior to sailing in the Golden Globe single-handed, non-stop race around the world in 1968.

But here’s the surprising part. It may not be unprecedented for different studios to release concurrent biopics of Winston Churchill, Alfred Hitchcock or Truman Capote (as a rule of thumb, the lower-profile biopic in each case will star Toby Jones ), but both of the Crowhurst biopics are being released by the same company, StudioCanal. “It’s a unique situation in the history of cinema,” says Rumley. The Mercy and Crowhurst were preceded by a 2006 documentary, Deep Water , which told the amazing tale of the middle-aged inventor who lived modestly with his wife and four children in Bridgwater in Somerset. His pride and joy was the “Navicator”, a handheld proto-GPS , but sales were slow. When he heard about the Golden Globe race, he saw it as a golden opportunity to publicise the Navicator, among other gadgets.

But the two new films don’t quite agree on his motivation. Crowhurst emphasises that its hero’s business is sinking fast. To stick with the nautical metaphor, the yacht race is his chance to get his head above water before he drowns in debt. The Mercy has a more romantic view. Written by Scott Z Burns (who has scripted three of Steven Soderbergh’s films), it posits that Crowhurst is having a mid-life crisis, and that he yearns to go on an awfully big adventure.

Alas, his adventure turns out to illustrate the phrase, “Worse things happen at sea.” Months of isolation and physical hardship take their toll, and he resorts to lying about his progress in his radio transmissions home. If you’re planning to see the films, stay away from Wikipedia, but it’s difficult to watch either The Mercy or Crowhurst without spotting a Brexit analogy: a cash-strapped, ill-prepared Brit sails off in a leaky boat, then pretends everything is going better than it is.

Not that anyone was thinking about Brexit during production. The producer of Crowhurst, Michael Riley, got hold of a screenplay back in 2014. When he asked Rumley to direct it, he knew that The Mercy was being developed but didn’t believe it would ever get made. “It had been knocking around for years,” says Riley, “and various A-list actors had come and gone.” But in early 2015, just as Riley and Rumley were ready to start shooting their film, they heard that – another nautical metaphor alert – The Mercy was launching, with Firth on board and Marsh at the helm. And they knew that it had a budget the size of a cruise ship, while theirs had more the heft of a rubber dinghy. “We could have packed up our tent and said, ‘OK, you win,’” says Riley. “But we’d spent years working on it, honing the script, casting it, prepping it, talking to financiers. And we knew our film would be very different from theirs. So we said, we’re up for the fight. Let’s do it.”

To Rumley, the fact that he was vying with a far more expensive and prestigious studio film was encouraging rather than offputting. “I’ve always been resolutely independent, and done everything outside the BFI/BBC/Film4 system – for better and for worse,” he says. “I thought it would be really interesting to see what the differences were. The films could be a great investigation into whether big budgets are everything, or whether an indie spirit can make the magic happen.”

Justin Salinger as Donald Crowhurst in Simon Rumley’s Crowhurst.

He also thought the race between The Mercy and Crowhurst echoed the race they were depicting. “I was very excited by the idea that Donald was considered the absolute outsider underdog – a guy who had done very little sailing up against guys who had won medals and sailed halfway around the world. Everyone called him a weekend sailor, and while I wouldn’t call myself a weekend director, when you’re up against a film with three Oscar-winners involved, there’s only one underdog. I felt the situation channelled Donald’s optimism and positivity, and that was very appealing.”

Watching the two films in quick succession can be disorienting. At times, they are almost indistinguishable. Rival Churchill biopics, for example, can pick and choose from years of incidents and dozens of characters, but any film about Crowhurst has to stick to a specific narrative – and that’s a narrative about one man, on his own, on a boat. Still, there are enough variations to keep a film studies class busy for a month.

Marsh’s expansive, gorgeously shot period drama shows the vessel falling to pieces. In Rumley’s grungier chamber piece, what’s falling to pieces is the hero’s psyche. Firth did much of his sailing in the Mediterranean, near Malta, whereas Salinger had to make do with the Bristol Channel in force seven winds. Marsh could afford to shoot elaborate crowd scenes in Teignmouth in Devon, at the very harbour where Crowhurst began his journey. But Rumley’s crew was small enough to fit into the Bridgwater house where Crowhurst lived. Most obviously, Rumley incorporates a lot more psychedelic, split-screen loopiness: Nicolas Roeg, an old friend of Riley’s, signed on as executive producer, having had a crack at his own Crowhurst biopic in the 1970s.

Crowhurst, the movie, crossed the finishing line first. When the film was completed in early 2016, a number of distributors were interested, but its financiers couldn’t resist a generous offer from the company behind The Mercy. Danny Perkins, head of StudioCanal in the UK, told the Hollywood Reporter that they had bought Crowhurst “so we could control it”, which meant keeping it in dry dock until The Mercy had been sent down the slipway. Nobody from StudioCanal was available for comment, but the company is contracted to release Crowhurst in British cinemas a few weeks after The Mercy. “StudioCanal assured us that they see it as a companion piece,” says Riley, “and not as a competitor they want to bury in the deepest possible hole.”

Rumley admits the StudioCanal deal has taken the wind out of his sails. “It was a disappointing moment when I realised we wouldn’t be going head to head with the big boys.” What he would like to do now, he says, is to sit down with Marsh and discuss their differing approaches to the material. He might have to wait a while. Marsh is in post-production on a StudioCanal thriller about the Hatton Garden jewellery heist – one of several films and TV series being made about the very same event.

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Colin Firth plays Donald Crowhurst in The Mercy, the film about his round-the-world yacht race

The strange tale of donald crowhurst and his attempt at the sunday times round-the-world yacht race is brought to life in a new film with colin firth. by jeff dawson.

The people’s yachtsman: Colin Firth as Donald Crowhurst in The Mercy

I t says something about diverging postwar fortunes that, in 1969, while America feted Neil Armstrong, Britain was crossing its fingers for the amateur yachtsman Donald Crowhurst. A 36-year-old father of four, Crowhurst was the antithesis of a buzzcut adventurer. Brow furrowed, baggy-jumpered, he was better known in Bridgwater, Somerset, as a struggling inventor, knocking up marine navigation equipment in his shed.

Yet, that April, there he was, breaking radio silence to announce that his trimaran, Teignmouth Electron, had successfully rounded Cape Horn and was steering a course for home. He didn’t know it yet, but he looked set to complete the fastest non-stop solo circumnavigation of the Earth.

A “weekend sailor” with no ocean-going experience, Crowhurst had been an unlikely entrant in The Sunday Times

Blake NZ

The life and times of Sir Peter Blake

Sir Peter Blake was the world’s most celebrated yachtsman. In a 30-year career, he won every significant bluewater race on the planet. He also won and successfully defended the biggest sailing prize of all, the America’s Cup, and slashed the record for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the world under sail. He then turned his focus to pursue his passion in protecting and caring for the environment, embarking on a mission to restart people caring for the environment, through adventure, participation, education and enjoyment.

The early years (1948 – 1969)

Growing up in Bayswater

A passion for the sea

Early racing

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Fourth Whitbread 1985 – 1986

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Jules Verne Challenge 1993

America’s Cup campaigns (1987 – 2000)

Early New Zealand Challenges

America’s Cup Challenge

Red Socks Black Magic

Defending the Auld Mug

Blakexpeditions Antarctica (2000 – 2001)

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Blakexpeditions Amazon (2001)

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12 Celebrity sailors and boaters past and present

  • Katy Stickland

From hardcore racers like pop legend Simon Le Bon to George Clooney's love of motor yachts, here is our pick of the celebrities who adore sailing and boating.

Celebrity sailors George Clooney and David Suchet

Simon Le Bon

Simon Le Bon Whitbread Round the World

The frontman of Duran Duran’s sailing career hit the headlines in 1985 when his 77-foot maxi yacht, Drum, lost its keel and capsized during the Fastnet Race.

Simon Le Bon and other crew members were trapped inside the boat until they were rescued off the Cornish coast .

Determined to sail again, Le Bon refitted Drum and continued with his plans to compete in the 1985-1986 Whitbread Round the World Race.

Skippered by Skip Novak, Drum came in third overall in elapsed time.

Twenty years later, Le Bon once again competed in the Fastnet on board Drum, determined to conquer the race that has so nearly cost him his life.

However, delayed by light winds, he was forced to abandoned the race to perform with Duran Duran in Japan.

Le Bon owned Drum during the height of his pop career in the 1980s, before selling it to Scottish motoring tycoon, Sir Arnold Clark.

In 1987, the singer, along with his wife, Yasmin, and the rest of Drum’s crew answered a MAYDAY call from a yacht off the coast of Venezuela.

Karen McCracken and her family were sailing to Belize when they got caught in a storm and were blown onto a reef.

More recently, Le Bon joined America’s Cup hopefuls, Land Rover BAR, on board AC45F during the 2015 America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth event.

Timothy Spall

Timothy Spall

Actor Timothy Spall and his wife, Shane, spent eight years cruising the waterways of Britain after buying their first narrowboat in 1997.

They then decided they wanted to go further afield and found a specialist boat builder to build them a sea-going barge, the Princess Matilda.

Their adventures on board their 16-metre Dutch canal barge have since been watched by thousands during the BBC Four series – Timothy Spall: Somewhere at Sea, Timothy Spall: Back at Sea and Timothy Spall: All at Sea.

The three series follows the Spalls as they journey around the coast of Britain in their £200,000 barge.

The voyage has also been chronicled in two books by Shane – The Voyages of the Princess Matilda and The Princess Matilda Comes Home – The Adventure Of A Lifetime Around Britain On A Barge.

Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman sailing

“My earrings are worth just enough to buy me a coffin if I die in a strange place. That was the reason why sailors used to wear them,” said Morgan Freeman.

The Hollywood actor fell in love with sailing when he saw a sailboat gliding on San Francisco Bay in 1961.

Six year later, he sailed for the first time in a 18-foot Lightning-class centreboat boat on a reservoir in Stowe, Vermont.

Since then, sailing has became his “refuge and passion”.

His first boat was a Holland-built Holiday 28, and for 16 years, Freeman sailed out of Eastchester Bay.

He explored the waters and anchorages of Long Island Sound, Block Island, the Elizabeth Islands, Cape Cod, the coast of Maine, and up to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

He first sailed to the Caribbean in 1979 on a 30-foot (9.14-meter) Alberg-designed sloop with a crew that included his wife, daughter and family cat, Zipper.

It took nine days to reach Bermuda and they stayed for six weeks, hitting a storm with 50-knot winds on their return journey.

In 1989, on board his Shannon 38, Sojourner, Freeman went as far as Sombrero Rock, north of St. Martin, and then two years later began cruising the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Since then, the Hollywood actor has sailed as far as Trinidad, exploring the Caribbean on his new Shannon 43.

Neil Young

Credit: Andrea Barsanti – Spirit Road/Wikimedia Commons

For more than 35 years, Canadian rock legend, Neil Young, owned the two-masted, gaff-rigged schooner, W.N. Ragland.

Originally built of oak in 1913, the 100-foot Baltic trader is a far cry from the yachts usually associated with rock stars.

The ship needed serious renovating when Young purchased it, buying enough mahogany to fill a railroad truck to replank the schooner.

As well as cruising the world with friends and family, Young also reportedly leant out W.N. Ragland for scientific expeditions to Hawaii and Alaska.

He sold the vessel to Walter Wallace of Wallace Yacht Co. in Port Townsend, Washington.

Interestingly, Young’s fellow band member in Crosby, Stills and Nash, David Crosby was also a passionate sailor, owning a John Alden designed schooner, Mayan.

The song, Wooden Ships, is believed to have been written onboard in 1968 when the ship was moored at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Prunella Scales and Timothy West

Prunella Scales and Timothy West

Fawlty Towers actress Prunella Scales, and her husband actor Timothy West have been avid boaters since living on a barge during their early acting days to save money.

Now self-confessed “canal nuts”, the couple like nothing more than exploring Britain’s waterways.

Since 2014, their love of canal boating has been passed on to Channel 4 viewers through the programme, Great Canal Journeys.

The series has seen the couple explore not only the canals and rivers of the UK, but also further afield in France, Venice, Sweden and Amsterdam.

West, who has owned a narrowboat since 1979, is also vice-president of The Waterways Trust, the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust and a patron of the Huddersfield Canal Society.

He was also involved in the restoration of The Waverley, the world’s last ocean-going paddle steamer.

Errol Flynn

Errol Flynn

Dead by the age of 50, the hard drinking actor’s love affair with the sea and sailing began after he spent his early years around the Australian ports of Sydney and Hobart.

His first yacht was the Sirocco, which he sailed up the coast to New Guinea where the boat was wrecked.

After finding fame in Hollywood, Flynn purchased a second yacht, also named Sirocco, in 1938, often disappearing for days sailing.

In 1946, he brought the 118-foot schooner, Zaca, which he owned until he died.

He used the schooner to make a short documentary film, Cruise of the Zaca, which follows Flynn and his father, Professor Theodore Flynn, collecting specimens.

The voyage was done in association with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography of the University of California and took place off the east coast of Mexico and in the West Indies.

When Flynn died, his only real possession was the Zaca.

Griff Rhys-Jones

Griff Rhys-Jones at the helm of his classic yacht, Undina, with sailing celebrities Laura Baldwin, Phil Sharp and actor Geoffrey Hughes, raising awareness for Sail 4 Cancer

Griff Rhys-Jones at the helm of his classic yacht, Undina, with sailing celebrities Laura Baldwin, Phil Sharp and actor Geoffrey Hughes, raising awareness for Sail 4 Cancer

Comedian and television personality, Griff Rhys-Jones started sailing as a child.

His father had a boat in West Mersea on Mersea Island, which they would sail around the coast of Suffolk and into The Broads.

An enthusiastic sailor, Rhys-Jones brought his 45-foot classic yacht, Undina, reportedly spending £500,000 on its restoration.

The Philip Rhodes yacht went on to star in the BBC series Three Men in Another Boat before being listed for sail in 2013.

Since then, Rhys-Jones has brought a 1948 57-foot Sparkman and Stephens designed yawl, Argyll.

Built by Simms of Massachusetts in 1948, the yacht is used primarily for racing, and was the winner of the Bonifacio Trophy and the Coupe Des Dames in St Tropez in 2014, and come second in the Panerai Transat in March 2015.

Rhys-Jones skippered Argyll in the 2015 Fastnet Race.

He has also written about his sailing exploits.

In the Baltic with Bob records his 2002 journey to Russia on “an elderly yacht” with his friend, Bob and Baines who “knew how to mend the engine”.

He has also published Rivers: One man and his dog paddle into the heart of Britain, which follows Rhys-Jones as he explores some of Britain’s most well known rivers with his dog, Cadbury.

Jeremy Irons

Jeremy Irons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Actor Jeremy Irons was “brought up sailing” after growing up in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight where his father was a founding members of the local sailing club.

After learning to sail on dinghies, Irons has now gone on to bigger and faster vessels, famously competing in the fourth leg of the BT Global Challenge round the world yacht race.

Joining the crew of LG Flatron, he spent seven days sailing across the Tasman Sea from Wellington to Sydney, coming second in their section “by about five seconds”.

The ‘Stealing Beauty’ actor has his own ketch, Willing Lass, and often raves about sailing along the West Cork coast where he lives.

He took part in the 2015 Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival, and the Round Island Race, crewing for Conrad Humphreys on his 40-foot catamaran.

Zac Efron

Teen idol, Zac Efron was bitten by the sailing bug after learning to sail for his role in the movie, ‘Charlie St. Cloud’.

In an interview with the Arizona Republic, he stated that he decided to take the title role after reading the script while spending time on a sailboat with his father.

Prior to filming, Efron took an intense course of sailing lessons out of Vancouver, learning how to capsize and sail a dinghy.

He said he would now like to move onto something bigger and try long-distance sailing with his father. His dream destination would be Hawaii.

JFK sailing in Maine on board the Presidential yacht, Manitou

JFK sailing the presidential yacht, Manitou. Credit: Robert L. Knudsen

Sailing was one of JFK’s greatest loves.

The US President learnt to sail as a child  and owned a series of Star class boats as a teenager – Flash and Flash II – with his brother, Joseph.

Flash II was his favourite, sailing it in the waters of Nantucket Sound.

An avid sailor, JFK won the Nantucket Sound Star Class Championship in Flash II, and raced the boat while at Harvard, winning the 1938 McMillan Cup.

He sold the boat in 1941, but still got out on the water with his 26-foot Wianno Senior sloop, Victura, which was a 15th birthday present from his parents.

Victura was arguably the most cherished boat in JFK’s life – it was the boat he taught his wife, Jackie, to sail in, the boat he and Jackie were photographed on for the famous Life magazine shoot which helped create the Kennedy brand.

It is also the boat he took his children sailing in during family holidays at Cape Cod.

He even sketched the Victura during many of his meetings during his presidency.

As president, JFK also enjoyed the 92-foot wooden presidential yacht, which he renamed the Honey Fitz, although he continued to look for a presidential sailing yacht.

He found a 62-foot Sparkman and Stephens yacht, Manitou and had the vesse; refitted with the latest communications equipment so he could stay in touch with his office – it became knowns as the “Floating White House”.

David Suchet

David Suchet on a narrowboat

Credit: Canal & River Trust

Although his most famous role, Hercule Poirot, suffers from the “mal de mer”,  actor David Suchet certainly doesn’t!

His fascination with narrowboats and canals has now become his passion.

The actor and his wife, Sheila spent six years living on a 53-foot narrowboat, Prima Donna, after spotting it from the window of Suchet’s dressing room at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

They moved back onto dry land following the arrival of children, although Britain’s waterways were the focus of many family holidays and it wasn’t long before a second narrowboat was bought.

They now own their third narrowboat – a 70-foot vessel – and Suchet has become something of an advocate for the preservation and restoration of the country’s canals and rivers.

He is is currently vice-president of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Trust, a past chairman of the River Thame Alliance and patron of the River Thames Boat Project.

He is also a friend of the Canal and River Trust.

George Clooney

George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in Venice

As a resident on Lake Como in Italy, as well as other addresses, ‘Gravity’ actor, George Clooney is no stranger to boating.

He is often photographed on the water with various friends at the wheel of classically designed motor yachts.

According to media reports, he has brought a £10,000 row boat for his estate at Sonning Eye on the River Thames in Oxfordshire.

The Georgian house is situated on its own five-and-a-half acre island.

The crazy story of the round-the-world yachtsman, the Cornish pub and the long-lost barometer

It looks like a joke item - but this 'Lovely day for a Guinness' novelty barometer from St Austell was a vital part of the equipment in the world's first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globle.

  • 16:47, 20 JUN 2018
  • Updated 17:34, 20 JUN 2018

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When yachtsman Sir Robin Knox Johnston set out on his epic first solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe 50 years ago, he carried an item of contraband.

On his way to Falmouth for the start of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968, Sir Robin broke the barometer on his yacht Suhaili.

In those days before the internet and satellite communications, a barometer was a yachtsman’s first warning of approaching bad weather, so Sir Robin borrowed the distinctive 'Lovely day for a Guinness' barometer hanging on the wall of the St Austell Brewery-owned Chain Locker.

The barometer was stolen from Sir Robin some time after his 312-day voyage, so he was unable to return it to the pub.

Sir Robin Knox Johnston hands over the barometer

Last week, as Falmouth played host to the Suhaili 50 Sail Parade, Sir Robin made amends and handed over a replica barometer to Chain Locker manager Nathan Boundy.

However, just a day later the barometer had once again disappeared from the wall of the St Austell Brewery-owned restaurant.

famous round the world yachtsman

The culprits were soon tracked down – the organisers of the 50th anniversary round-the-globe race.

After the sail parade on the Fal of the boats taking part in the anniversary race, the skippers set off for Les Sables d’Olonne in France, for the start of the race proper.

Among them was the Thuriya, a replica of Sir Robin’s Suhaili, built in India and captained by Indian Royal Navy commander Abhilash Tomy. And on board was the missing barometer – secreted there by Golden Globe race organiser Don McIntyre.

famous round the world yachtsman

“Abhilash is the only Indian to sail around the world non-stop and solo like Sir Robin and we couldn’t let the fabulous story of the barometer just stop there,” Mr McIntyre said. “So now it’s on its way around the world again on a replica of the Suhaili and history is repeating itself.

“Who’s to say that it won’t find its way back to the Chain Locker in another 50 years.”

St Austell chief executive and keen yachtsman James Staughton said: “When we first heard about the disappearance of the replica, we and the team at the Chain Locker were all naturally concerned. But who doesn’t love a good story and this really is one of the best.

“We wish Abhilash the very best of luck on his voyage and look forward to welcoming all the skippers back with a pint of Tribute at the Chain Locker on their return.”

While the Thuriya, as a replica of a 50-year old boat, stands at a little of a disadvantage against the more contemporary designs of its competitors, having the mascot of Sir Robin’s barometer on board may well help to bring her home ahead of the field. When it does, staff at the Chain Locker will no doubt be ready with hammer and nails to ensure the barometer becomes a more permanent fixture at the pub next time around.

Sir Robin was one of nine sailors who set out on the gruelling Sunday Times Golden Globe Race on June 14, 1968 – and the only one to stay the course. He returned to port on board Suhaili in April 1969.

to complete what was to become the greatest sailing achievement in a small boat during the last century.

“It is wonderful to be back in Falmouth and to receive such a warm welcome,” Sir Robin said. “Everyone has been so kind and this week’s celebrations have all brought back so many memories of my short time here at the Chain Locker.”

Mining, mine holes and mine rescues in Cornwall

Dr Keith Russ surveys the old workings at South Crofty Mine

“We had a fabulous evening when we arrived earlier in the week and there was such an amazing atmosphere here in the pub, just like it was when I came here 50 years ago and you don’t get that in many places these days.”

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Clipper 60 Sailboat

Clipper 60 Sailboat


At desperatesailors.com , we love to blog about unique boat designs. Today, we’d like to post brief information on Clipper 60 sailboats. There have only been 11 Clipper 60’s built, so it’s a rare jewel to find these days. But as far as we know, at least some are still in the use (mostly privately, or by charter companies).

Anyway, here’s what we’ve been able to find when scouring the internet looking for any information on those boats.

Meet The Clipper 60 Sailboat

Clipper 60 Taeping and Clipper 60 Serica were two of the entrants in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race race. The format was conceived in 1995 by the famous round the world yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnson and on 16 October 1996 eight, Clipper 60s left Plymouth to race around the World.

Clipper 60s lining up during the Clipper Round

The race offered paying amateur crew members the chance to sail around the world, aboard a fleet of identical yachts. The route is based on that of the traditional Tea Clippers, following the prevailing wind and currents. Both Taeping and Serica also completed the race in 1998, 2000, and 2002.

The fleet of eight Clipper 60s was built by Colvic Craft in Essex using the design of the proven Camper and Nicholson Bluewater 58, a prestigious cruising yacht designed by the American designer David Pedrick. Modifications were made to the cruising version and included a new deck layout better suited to Ocean Racing and an enlarged rig.

Clipper 60 – Technical Data

Here’s the key technical specification of the Clipper 60 sailboat:

For full details, please see go to https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/clipper-60

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Chef José Andrés is a Washington legend. Could Israel killing his aid workers push the US to act?

Analysis Chef José Andrés is a Washington legend. Could Israel killing his aid workers push the US to act?

José Andrés is the ultimate Washington celebrity chef. 

DC politicos regularly dine alongside everyday Washingtonians in his restaurants, which span the world's cuisines and encourage small-plate sharing.

And like most players in this city, he's also long been tangled in US politics.

Donald Trump sued him for pulling out of a restaurant deal, after the chef took exception to comments Trump made about Mexicans on the campaign trail.

Nancy Pelosi nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize, for "not only conquering hunger but spreading hope".

And Joe Biden, who has volunteered in his Washington kitchen, has described him as a friend.

Jose Andres and Joe Biden stand under a tent marked 'World Central Kitchen', in front of benches of food. Both wear masks.

Andrés is a man with so much influence – in Washington and beyond – that Time Magazine has twice named him among the 100 most influential people in the world. "The man is capable of anything," fellow chef Anthony Bourdain wrote when he profiled Andrés for the magazine's 2012 list.

Now – after seven people working for the charity he founded, World Central Kitchen, were killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza – Andrés is furious.

"This was not just a bad luck situation where, 'oops, we dropped the bomb in the wrong place'," he said .

"[It was] very clear who we are and what we do."

José Andrés on Clinton panel

Killings highlight ongoing questions

The circumstances in which multiple Israeli strikes killed Australian Zomi Frankcom and her WCK colleagues have sparked worldwide anger. For the first time during this war, US President Joe Biden said he was "outraged" with Israel.

The circumstances have also highlighted some of the big questions around the approximately 200 aid worker deaths in Gaza.

The seven WCK workers were killed while travelling through a deconflicted zone, on a road designated for the safe passage of aid.

They were in clearly marked vehicles, each of which was hit.

They had coordinated their movements with the Israeli military, the IDF.

And yet, as Andrés puts it, the group was "targeted systematically, car by car".

"What I know is that we were targeted deliberately non-stop until everybody was dead," Andrés told Reuters.

Pattern of deaths

The IDF blamed a "mistake that followed a misidentification". Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised an investigation, and to "do everything to ensure it does not happen again".

He also said , "This happens in wartime".

That's true of this war, but protocols are meant to prevent it. The aid worker death toll in Gaza is unusually large.

It's higher than the total number of aid workers killed around the world in any single year since at least 1997, which is when the Aid Worker Security Database's published figures date back to.

The UN says it's never seen its humanitarian staff killed at a rate close to this, in any conflict.

The WCK deaths have received extra attention because of the nationalities of the victims, but other aid agencies say they've lost staff – many of them Palestinian – despite doing everything right and coordinating movements with the IDF.

They include UN agency UNRWA and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, which provides ambulance services.

The Israeli government says "the idea that we are targeting aid convoys is nothing short of nonsense" .

But as Biden's national security spokesman, John Kirby, conceded this week, the WCK killings are "emblematic of a bigger problem".

There's a pattern of aid workers being killed in Israeli strikes, despite deconfliction protocols that are supposed to keep them safe.

Aid barriers

Last week, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said Gaza residents "are no longer facing only a risk of famine … but that famine is setting in". The situation in the north is particularly dire.

Aid agencies say getting food in has been not only dangerous, but difficult, with Israeli checks at border crossings tying things up in red tape. "The level of barriers being put in place to hamper humanitarian assistance – we've never seen anything like it,"  Save the Children recently said . 

Israel denies holding up aid, but says careful checks are important to prevent weapons reaching Hamas. It says it's made improvements and more trucks are getting in.

In March, about 150 trucks a day managed to get through IDF checks and into Gaza – an increase on previous months, but only about a quarter of what's needed.

The European Union's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, and the UN's top human rights official, Volker Turk, have joined credible human rights groups that say there's strong evidence Israel's using starvation as a weapon of war.

The world court ordered Israel to take steps to ensure aid could get into Gaza unhindered, and ensure its military does not breach international law on genocide, "including by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance".

But things are now only likely to get worse.

World Central Kitchen aid workers.

UNRWA had been the most effective distributor of aid, but it's been hobbled. Israel's refusing to work with it after accusing a group of its staff of involvement in the October 7 attack.

That had left groups like WCK to try to fill a huge hole.

But WCK has now suspended its operations in Gaza. The UAE, which finances the sea shipments, has also hit pause.

American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), which says it's been providing an average of 150,000 meals daily since October 7, has also stopped operations.

"The blatant nature of the attack on WCK’s convoy has proven that aid workers are currently under attack,” an ANERA spokesperson told AP.

Biden's phone calls

After learning the World Central Kitchen aid workers were killed this week, Biden called Andrés.

According to the White House, Biden expressed his heartbreak, praised the charity's work, and "conveyed he will make clear to Israel that humanitarian aid workers must be protected".

What Andrés said to Biden on the phone call remains private. But today, WCK called for an investigation to be conducted independent of Israel, and asked Israel to preserve all relevant evidence. It's called for support from the US, as well as Australia and other governments, to back its demand.

Biden's also under growing pressure, including from some within his party, for strict conditions to be placed on weapons supplied to Israel. There are more calls for US military aid to be cut completely. 

But  The Washington Post today revealed his administration approved transferring thousands more bombs to Israel the same day the aid workers were killed, apparently sometime before the deadly strikes.

Biden made another phone call today, this time to Benjamin Netanyahu .

He "emphasised that the strikes on humanitarian workers and the overall humanitarian situation are unacceptable", according to a White House read-out of the call. He said Israel must announce and implement steps to protect civilians and aid workers.

"He made clear that US policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel's immediate action on these steps," the White House said.

Speaking at the White House afterwards, John Kirby said the call was a direct result of the strikes on WCK and other aid convoys.

"The president felt strongly that it was time to talk to Prime Minister Netanyahu about his concerns," he said.

This is also part of a pattern. Biden has frequently voiced frustration with Netanyahu and Israel, and regularly stepped up his rhetoric, but there's little evidence any of it has proven persuasive.

Kirby hinted Biden got some sort of assurance this time. "We expect that there will be some announcements coming from Israel in the coming hours and days," he said.

Ultimatums and announcements on their own mean nothing, though. The big test will be whether anything on either leader's side actually changes, or we just keep hearing more talk.

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Top 10 largest earthquakes around the world since 1900

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Yachting World

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The Yachting World hall of fame: 50 yachts that changed the way we sail

Helen Fretter

  • Helen Fretter
  • May 13, 2020

We asked historians, round the world race winners and legendary sailors to name the yachts that changed the sport for good. In no particular order, these are the 50 yachts that shifted how we sail...

41 - Jolie Brise. 1913, Alexandre Pâris/Paumelle: The 56ft gaff-rigged Jolie Brise was originally built to do a job of work. Designed to cross oceans rapidly, she was the last boat to carry the Royal Mail under sail. However, as steam replaced sail she suffered some ignominious years as a tuna fishing boat before being refitted for racing, taking part in the inaugural Fastnet Race in 1925, which she won. She went on to win the 600-mile Irish Sea epic twice more, a record which remains unbeaten. Although she appears to be a traditional pilot cutter, Jolie Brise was, unusually for the time, built to plans. Photo Rick Tomlinson

41. Jolie Brise

Built: 1913 Design: Alexandre Pâris/Paumelle

The 56ft gaff-rigged Jolie Brise was originally built to do a job of work. Although she appears to be a traditional pilot cutter, Jolie Brise was unusual for the time in being built to plans.

She was designed to cross oceans rapidly, and was the last boat to carry the Royal Mail under sail. However, she was too late to really show her worth as a pilot boat, and as steam replaced sail suffered some ignominious years as a tuna fishing boat.

Her fortunes changed after she was sold and refitted for racing, going on to take part in the inaugural Fastnet Race in 1925, which she won. She went on to win the 600-mile epic twice more, a record which remains unbeaten.

famous round the world yachtsman

Photo: Paul Buttrose

Built: 1929 Design: Sparkman & Stephens

Designer Olin Stephens was just 22 when the 52ft yawl Dorade was launched, built for his father Roderick Stephens as a great gamble on the success of a new business venture, a design house called Sparkman & Stephens.

The yacht, which he described as “a kind of awakening”, was  both beautiful and radical from the outset. She was n arrower in beam and lighter in construction than her contemporaries, partly due to the hull frames being steam-bent rather than sawn.

Stephens was confident that a slim hull with stability gained from a deep lead keel, would pay off. He was correct – although his calculations were thrown into question at Dorade’s launch, when the waterline stripe was three inches below the surface.

Any detractors were silenced by Dorade’s performance in the 1931 Transatlantic Race when she, the third smallest yacht in the fleet, reached the line more than two days ahead of the next. On corrected time, Dorade was almost four days faster. She went on to win the Fastnet Race of the same year by a wide margin.

The yacht became the first in a new generation of deep keeled, slim hulled, powerful racing yachts. Dorade was famously restored to once again race in the Transatlantic and Fastnet Races in 2015, scoring podium finishes in both offshores some 84 years after her first win. Sparkman & Stephens, of course, went on to become the most prolifically successful yacht design office of the 20th century.

43. Sundeer 68

Built: 1988 Design: Steve Dashew

An unsung hero of yacht design, Steve Dashew built small numbers of highly specialised cruising yachts.

Andrew Bishop of the World Cruising Club comments: “The powerful, balanced rigs are designed with sail handling for short-handed crews in mind, which, combined with their easily driven hull forms, make for consistently high speeds in a wide range of conditions. These boats were ahead of their time for modern fast cruising yachts.”

The range began with the 1978 Deerfoot , a 68-footer that featured the first swim platform, fore-and-aft watertight bulkheads, and an aft engine room.

They later launched the Sundeer range, which could comfortably cover 230 miles a day, a distance Dashew describes as “the magic number that keeps you safe and comfortable”.

Built: 2007 Design: VPLP

The 33rd America’s Cup pitted a 34m trimaran against Alinghi’s giant catamaran. For BMW Oracle USA designers, VPLP, the project was a golden opportunity to rapidly accelerate multihull development, resulting in the famous wingsail.

Lauriot Prévost remembers: “In the original brief the boat had to be designed and built in ten months, and then there were lawyers and postponements, which meant instead of having ten months we had almost two and a half years.

“So that’s how the wingmast came onto the boat. Having worked on the platform, on the appendages, on everything else, we had to work on propulsion.” The original idea came from design director Mike Drummond.

“It was a crazy project because even at the final finish, when the second leg had been won by USA 17, we still had some modification projects that were on the table, changing the main hull and so on,” recalls Lauriot Prévost.

“It was really, really very intense. But I think the America’s Cup is exactly this: you can have the skills and money to achieve in two years what would take five or ten years on a usual project.”

45. Contessa 32

Built: 1970 Design: David Sadler / Jeremy Rogers

The gateway for many owners into yacht racing, the Contessa was a one-design, avoiding the vagaries and expense of IOR, and performed just as well as a family cruiser. Its seaworthy reputation was cemented during the 1979 Fastnet, when of the 58 boats in the smallest class, only one finished – the Contessa 32 Assent .

David Glenn explains: “The key to the the Contessa 32’s success was that the boats could perform two roles equally well. They could be raced as a one-design, which meant you didn’t have to adhere to the vagaries and expense of IOR, which was then the predominant racing rule, and perform just as well as a family cruising yacht.

“The David Sadler/Jeremy Rogers Contessa was designed in 1970 and more than 750 were built. At one time they had their own class in Cowes Week and they still race through an active class association. A good looking and very seaworthy yacht, chosen by many who wanted a go-anywhere, reliable and – for her day – fast boat.

“By today’s standards her accommodation is very limited. Nonetheless, a real winner in her time and many people aspired to owning one. They still do! She had that ‘must have’ ingredient. ”

46. Aqua Quorum. 1996, Adrian Thompson: “Pete Goss sailing Aqua Quorum, an Open 50, in the 1996 Vendée Globe became the first to sail round the world with a canting keel,” comments solo sailor Dee Caffari. “From this moment the world stopped questioning the canting keel concept. We agree that there are risks and, as a result, many races have adopted the one-design rule to try and reduce the risk factor, but no one has moved away from the extra stability and power this design can produce.”

46. Aqua Quorum

Built: 1996 Design: Adrian Thompson

Ocean racer Dee Caffari nominates Pete Goss’s  Aqua Quorum. “ Most of my racing offshore is spent on boats with canting keels,” she explains, “but i f we go back to 1991, Michel Desjoyeaux sailed the first distance offshore with a swing keel in a mini 6.50. This then led onto Pete Goss sailing Aqua Quorum , an open 50, in the 1996 Vendee Globe becoming the first to sail round the world with a canting keel.

“From this moment the world stopped questioning the canting keel concept. We agree that there are risks and as a result many races have adopted the one-design rule to try and reduce the risk factor, but no one has moved away from the extra stability and power this design can produce. It sure beats having 15 people on the rail to act as ballast!”

47. Jester. 1953, Blondie Haslar: With her unstayed Chinese ‘junk’ rig set on a modified 25ft Folkboat hull, Jester is unique. She was created by ‘Blondie’ Haslar, who sailed her in the 1960 race he established for fellow solo, Corinthian yachtsmen, from Plymouth to New York – at the time a revolutionary concept. The race was won by Francis Chichester in Gipsy Moth II, with Jester 2nd, and it eventually became the hugely successful OSTAR.

Built: 1953 Design: Blondie Haslar

With her unstayed Chinese ‘junk’ rig set on a modified 25ft Folkboat hull, Jester is unique. She was created by Herbert ‘Blondie’ Haslar, who believed that one did not need a racing machine in order to cross ocean miles.

He then sailed her in the 1960 race which he established for fellow singlehanded, Corinthian yachtsmen, from Plymouth to New York – at the time a revolutionary concept and the first solo ocean race.

It was won by Francis Chichester in  Gipsy Moth II , with Jester second, and the race became the hugely successful OSTAR, held on a four-yearly cycle in various incarnations for many years since.

Jester competed in each one, until finally damaged by a rogue wave and abandoned in 1988. A replica Jester was built – and again raced in the OSTAR – in 1992.

Technically Jester was also very innovative, thanks to Haslar’s wind vane self-steering and rudimentary trim tab system, which he refined further over four Atlantic crossings – claiming to only take the tiller for an hour during the 1960 race. By 1970 over 600 units of Haslar’s Pendulum Servo Gear system had been fitted to yachts around the world.

Many other developments in short-handed racing were first tried during runnings of the OSTAR, such as the earliest weather routing in 1968 (it was subsequently banned).

48. Westerly Centaur. 1968, Jack Laurent Giles: “This was the people’s cruising boat, the ‘floating country cottage’,” comments David Glenn. “She changed yachting by getting families afloat in their thousands and is still a much loved second-hand yacht.”

48. Westerly Centaur

Built: 1968 Design: Jack Laurent Giles

“Designed in 1968 by Jack Laurent Giles, this was the people’s cruising boat, the ‘floating country cottage’,” comments David Glenn.

“She was a motor sailer really but she changed yachting by getting families afloat in their thousands and she is a still much loved second-hand yacht. Westerly built (I think) some 2,500. Those numbers speak for themselves.”

49. Istria. 1912, Camper & Nicholson: The 15-metre was the first yacht designed with a Marconi topmast, which was fitted with a track which meant the topsail could be hoisted from deck. With 72 wins out of 81 starts for Istria, the gaff rig was rapidly demoted to the history books. Istria was also the first large yacht to be built using laminated materials to save weight.

Built: 1912 Design: Camper & Nicholson

The 15-metre was the first yacht designed with a Marconi topmast, which was fitted with a track which meant the topsail could be hoisted from deck.

With 72 wins out of 81 starts for Istria , the gaff rig was rapidly demoted to the history books. Istria was also the first large yacht to be built using laminated materials to save weight.

50. Ceramco. 1980, Farr Yacht Design: Peter Blake’s 68-footer with a bulb keel and flat stern was designed to surf around the world in the 1981-82 Whitbread, but she was dismasted on leg one. The crew set a jury rig and sailed 4,400 miles to rejoin the race and resume battle with Flyer. Photo: Jean Jacques Bernard.

Photo: Jean Jacques Bernard.

50. Ceramco

Built: 1980 Design: Farr

Peter Blake’s 68-footer with a bulb keel and flat stern was designed to surf around the world in the 1981-82 Whitbread, but she was dismasted on leg one. The crew set a jury rig and sailed 4,400 miles to rejoin the race and resume battle with Flyer .

Updated from an article that first appeared in the November 2016 issue of Yachting World magazine.

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Taiwan's strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing

  • Earthquake kills nine, more than 900 injured
  • Fifty on minibuses heading to national park missing
  • Epicentre just off Taiwan's sparsely populated east coast
  • Workers return to semiconductor giant TSMC facilities

Shaking from an earthquake near Taiwan’s eastern shore was felt across the island nation and parts of mainland China and Japan on Wednesday morning.


Workers walk at the site where a building collapsed following an earthquake, in Hualien


Shaking from an earthquake near Taiwan’s eastern shore was felt across the island nation and parts of mainland China and Japan on Wednesday morning. The Wednesday quake was the strongest to hit the island nation in about 25 years.

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Reporting by Yimou Lee and Fabian Hamacher, Shanghai and Hong Kong newsrooms; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Chizu Nomiyama, Alison Williams and Josie Kao

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famous round the world yachtsman

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Yimou Lee is a Senior Correspondent for Reuters covering everything from Taiwan, including sensitive Taiwan-China relations, China's military aggression and Taiwan's key role as a global semiconductor powerhouse. A three-time SOPA award winner, his reporting from Hong Kong, China, Myanmar and Taiwan over the past decade includes Myanmar's crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, Hong Kong protests and Taiwan's battle against China's multifront campaigns to absorb the island.

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President Joe Biden took an aerial tour on Friday of the collapsed Baltimore bridge that is blocking a key East Coast shipping lane, and he pledged federal help in rebuilding the span, an idea some Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Congress have resisted.

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The World’s Richest Sports Team Owners 2024

Steve ballmer reclaimed his spot as the world’s richest owner, but there’s a maverick newcomer in the top three., by justin birnbaum , forbes staff.

S pending money has never been an issue for Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer. In 2014, the former Microsoft CEO bought the NBA team for a then-record $2 billion, a move that was widely seen as an overpay at the time ( Forbes had most recently valued the Clippers at $575 million ). This January, Ballmer shelled out more than $152 million to extend 32-year-old, All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard’s contract for another three seasons, and he is expected make similar moves with his other aging talents, Paul George, 33, and James Harden, 34. Next year, one of his crowning achievements will come to fruition, when the Clippers move into their new home, the $2 billion Intuit Dome in Inglewood, California .

Despite the enormous bill Ballmer has racked up in a decade of team ownership, it’s barely dented his fortune. The 68-year-old is worth an estimated $121 billion, according to Forbes’ 2024 World’s Billionaires list, up from $80.7 billion in 2023. His 50% year-over-year wealth increase, primarily due to the stellar stock performance of Microsoft, has once again made Ballmer the richest sports team owner in the world.

The top spot was previously held by Mukesh Ambani, who owns the Mumbai Indians cricket team through his publicly traded conglomerate Reliance Industries. ( Forbes has adjusted its methodology to exclude teams owned by public companies and, therefore, their shareholders. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, owner of Japanese baseball’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, was left off for the same reason, as well as teams owned by giant private conglomerates, including Red Bull’s Formula 1 team and INEOS’ Manchester United and OGC Nice.)

Joining the list of richest sports team owners for the first time is Miriam Adelson, who, along with her family, purchased the Dallas Mavericks from billionaire Mark Cuban in 2023 at a reported valuation of $3.5 billion. The widow of former Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson (who died in 2021) lands in the top three after agreeing to buy 68% of the team last year, with the option to purchase more shares later. The unique deal leaves Cuban a minority shareholder, but in control of basketball operations, for now.

In total, the 20 richest sports owners in the world are worth a collective $481 billion, a 6% decrease from last year. All but three of this year’s list-makers experienced increases in their fortunes; the decline is largely a result of the exclusion of Ambani, Son, Mark Mateschitz (Red Bull) and James Ratcliffe (Manchester United and OGC Nice).

The NBA is the most represented league on this year’s list, with nine owners claiming spots. That mark is followed by seven billionaires from the NFL, five from the NHL, four from MLS and three from European soccer. Steve Cohen is the only MLB owner on the 2024 list, while Joe Tsai, who is included in the NBA owners, is the only owner from the WNBA.

Here are the 20 richest sports team owners on the 2024 World’s Billionaires list .

Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

#1. Steve Ballmer

Team: los angeles clippers, source of wealth: microsoft, citizenship: united states, net worth: $121 billion, 1-year change: +50%.

When the Intuit Dome opens during the 2024-25 NBA season, Ballmer won’t have to wait long to show off his state-of-the-art arena to the world. The venue has been selected to host the 2026 NBA All-Star Game.

#2. Rob Walton & family

Team: denver broncos, source of wealth: walmart, net worth: $77.4 billion, 1-year change: +34%.

Walton has yet to find success in his brief tenure as the Broncos’ owner. But he’s wiped the slate clean for 2024, eating $85 million to cut quarterback Russell Wilson from the roster.

Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

#3. Miriam Adelson & family

Team: dallas mavericks, source of wealth: casinos, net worth: $32 billion, 1-year change: -9%.

While gambling is not yet legal in the Lone Star State, the arrival of the Adelson family, which owns Las Vegas Sands and has aspirations to build a casino in downtown Dallas , could intensify an already years-long push for legalization in Texas.

#4. François Pinault & family

Team: stade rennais f.c., source of wealth: luxury goods, citizenship: france, net worth: $31.6 billion, 1-year change: -21%.

As Stade Rennais remains muddled in mediocrity, the 87-year-old Pinault, founder of luxury goods giant Kering, and his family have expanded their sports interests through a different vehicle. In September, the French billionaire’s son, François-Henri, bought CAA, ranked in 2022 as the world’s most valuable sports agency , in a $7 billion deal.

#5. Daniel Gilbert

Team: cleveland cavaliers, source of wealth: quicken loans, net worth: $26.2 billion, 1-year change: +46%.

As the Cavaliers continue to navigate the post-LeBron James era, Gilbert has expressed interest in owning another sports team. In October, he joined an effort to bring a new National Women’s Soccer League franchise to Cleveland.

#6. David Tepper

Team: carolina panthers, charlotte fc, source of wealth: hedge funds, net worth: $20.6 billion, 1-year change: +11%.

In 2023, Tepper suffered his worst season as the owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, losing 15 games after trading away what became the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. (He was also fined $300,000 for throwing a drink at a Jacksonville Jaguars fan during a 26-0 loss.) The team cleaned house in the off-season, hiring Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales as head coach.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

#7. Steve Cohen

Team: new york mets, net worth: $19.8 billion, 1-year change: +13%.

Four years after buying the Mets for $2.4 billion , Cohen is still vying for support to build a casino next to Citi Field, the team’s home in Flushing, Queens. To sweeten the offer, in February the 67-year-old billionaire proposed an $8 billion investment in the area’s community .

#8. Stanley Kroenke

Team: los angeles rams, denver nuggets, colorado avalanche, colorado rapids, arsenal fc, arsenal women’s fc, source of wealth: sports, real estate, net worth: $16.2 billion, 1-year change: +26%.

Kroenke’s Denver Nuggets won their first NBA title in 2023 , adding to a trophy case that already included championships from the Los Angeles Rams and Colorado Avalanche. It could get even fuller in 2024—both the Nuggets and Avalanche are expected to make deep playoff runs.

#9. Philip Anschutz

Team: los angeles kings, la galaxy, source of wealth: energy, sports, entertainment, net worth: $15.3 billion, 1-year change: +40%.

The 84-year-old energy and entertainment mogul has been no stranger to innovations on the American soccer scene. More recently, his Galaxy have expanded their revenue streams by playing preseason hosts to a dozen or so MLS clubs as part of the annual Coachella Valley Invitational.

#10. Henry Samueli

Team: anaheim ducks, source of wealth: semiconductors, net worth: $14.1 billion, 1-year change: +83%.

As one of the worst-performing teams in the NHL this season, Samueli’s Anaheim Ducks will likely have to keep any Stanley Cup dreams on ice for the near future. In the meantime, the 69-year-old tech billionaire has plenty to cheer about with the explosive growth of Broadcom, the publicly traded semiconductor company he cofounded in 1991.

#11. Jerry Jones

Team: dallas cowboys, source of wealth: dallas cowboys, net worth: $13.8 billion, 1-year change: +4%.

With a $9 billion valuation, Jones’ Dallas Cowboys remain the most valuable sports team on the planet. The 81-year-old billionaire is confident there’s even more room to grow, partly because of expansion into new global markets. “I don’t know if we will ever have international teams the way you do with soccer,” Jones says. “But what it takes to play our game can be part of something big internationally.”

Visionhaus/Getty Images

#12. Shahid Khan

Team: jacksonville jaguars, fulham f.c., source of wealth: auto parts, net worth: $12.2 billion, 1-year change: +1%.

Even though the Jaguars are a small market franchise, Khan’s team has a following on the other side of the Atlantic. Later this year, Jacksonville will play in London for the 12th time in as many years.

#13. Hasso Plattner & family

Team: san jose sharks, source of wealth: software, citizenship: germany, net worth: $12.1 billion, 1-year change: +41%.

Plattner has generated a strong return on the Sharks since buying the NHL franchise for $147 million in 2002—the team is now worth $900 million. The SAP cofounder is still chasing a Stanley Cup title, however, and 2024 isn’t looking good as the Sharks currently have the worst record in the league.

#14. Robert Kraft

Team: new england patriots, new england revolution, source of wealth: manufacturing, new england patriots, net worth: $11.1 billion, 1-year change: +5%.

Dynastic success and surging sports valuations have transformed the New England Patriots into a $7 billion behemoth. But for the first time since 2000, Kraft is in uncharted waters after parting ways with Bill Belichick, who won six Super Bowls as head coach.

#15. Antony Ressler

Team: atlanta hawks, source of wealth: finance, net worth: $10.5 billion, 1-year change: +78%.

The 63-year-old Ressler has been the beneficiary of skyrocketing NBA franchise values: His Atlanta Hawks have grown nearly 300% since his group purchased the team for a reported $850 million in 2015. But the growth of the private credit market has been even more lucrative for him, pushing the share price of his private equity outfit, Ares Management, up roughly 600% in that same period.

#16. Stephen Ross

Team: miami dolphins, source of wealth: real estate, net worth: $10.1 billion, 1-year change: -13%.

The 83-year-old real estate billionaire hasn’t been shy about discussing how pleased he’s been with the appreciation of NFL franchises. Now, the Dolphins owner is reportedly looking to sell a minority stake in the team, which is worth $5.7 billion.

David Zalubowski/AP

#17. Mat Ishbia

Team: phoenix suns, source of wealth: mortgage lender, net worth: $9.9 billion, 1-year change: +83.3%.

Ishbia’s brief tenure as the Suns’ owner has been splashy, acquiring stars Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal since buying the team from embattled former owner Robert Sarver at a $4 billion valuation. It has yet to yield results—Phoenix is currently sixth in the Western Conference standings.

#18. Tilman Fertitta

Team: houston rockets, source of wealth: entertainment, houston rockets, net worth: $9.4 billion, 1-year change: +16%.

Fertitta’s interest in expanding his sports empire is well known—last year, he reportedly, and unsuccessfully, bid $5.5 billion to purchase the Washington Commanders. In February, the Galveston, Texas native told Bloomberg News he was also talking to the NHL about bringing a hockey team to Houston .

#19. Tom Gores

Team: detroit pistons, source of wealth: private equity, net worth: $9.1 billion, 1-year change: +49%.

Gores has been the recipient of heavy criticism lately given the Pistons’ poor performance in the NBA. Even as fan discontent boils over, he has refuted the possibility of selling the team and has touted the franchise’s investment in the Detroit community.

onathan Wong/South China Morning Post/Getty Images

#20. Joe Tsai

Team: brooklyn nets, new york liberty, source of wealth: e-commerce, citizenship: canada, net worth: $8.5 billion, 1-year change: 12%.

With the Nets valued at an estimated $3.85 billion, Tsai could soon cash in on part of his investment. The 60-year-old e-commerce entrepreneur has reportedly had discussions about selling a minority stake in the team’s holding company to the Koch family.


Justin Birnbaum

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Baltimore Opens Temporary Shipping Route Around Key Bridge Wreckage

The temporary alternate channel will be able to accommodate some barges and tugboats but not larger vessels, the authorities said.

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The debris from a collapsed bridge rests on a shipping vessel.

By Mike Ives and Campbell Robertson

Officials in Baltimore opened a temporary channel on Monday to help restore some traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore, one of the nation’s busiest commercial shipping hubs .

The alternate channel will allow some essential vessels to bypass wreckage from the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, which has been blocking the harbor’s main channel since it was hit by a giant cargo ship last week .

The temporary channel was announced late Sunday by the state and federal agencies leading the disaster response and confirmed in a news conference on Monday afternoon.

“Today was an important milestone in the process of beginning to pull the wreckage out, beginning to open up channels,” Gov. Wes Moore of Maryland said. “We know we still have more work to do.”

Some barges and tugboats that had been trapped in the harbor will pass through the channel on Monday evening, Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath of the U.S. Coast Guard said. Still, at a depth of 11 feet, the new lane can accommodate only a fraction of the traffic that typically passes through the port.

The authorities are surveying a second alternative channel on the other side of the bridge, Admiral Gilreath said, which would have a depth of “around 15 to 16 feet,” allowing somewhat larger vessels.

Officials said that the opening of a third alternate channel, with a depth of 20 to 25 feet, was dependent on the daunting work being done at the moment: the clearing of heavy bridge debris.

“Once that’s opened, that should allow us to move almost all of our tug and barge traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore,” Admiral Gilreath said. “I don’t have a timeline other than we’re going to do it as fast as we possibly can,” he added, explaining that clearing that third channel involved cutting through and lifting heavy steel girders.

Salvage experts have said that clearing debris around the wrecked structure in the Patapsco River is likely to take weeks. It’s unclear how much longer it will take for shipping to reach normal levels.

Mike Ives is a reporter for The Times based in Seoul, covering breaking news around the world. More about Mike Ives

Campbell Robertson reports on Delaware, the District Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, for The Times. More about Campbell Robertson


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