Suhaili, the legendary 10-meter that won the first round-the-world sailing race, is reborn

As the non-stop solo round-the-world race (Vendee Globe) where the incredible new record of only 70 days to cover 21,600 miles will be set is coming to an end in a few days, Suahili, the first boat to win the same solo round-the-world race in 1969, after 313 days of sailing, comes back to life.

The great story is that the person who restored her is the same man, aged 77, who had led her to win the legendary first Golden Globe Trophy when she was 29 years old. Robin Knox Johnston is his name and he is one of the great myths of modern sailing, his whole life dedicated to the sea. The restoration of the other legendary boat with which he won the Round the World Sailing Tour was a job that took 140 days and 3,000 hours of manual labor.


Suhaili’s story is just as fascinating as the feat he performed. He was born in 1963 in Bombay, India. The design of this two-masted vessel of only 9.88 meters (13.40 with bowsprit bowsprit and aft structure) only 3.37 meters wide is by William Atkins. What is incredible is that Suhaili’s design dates back to 1923 and was inspired by Norwegian rescue boats designed by Colin Archer. It is built with precious but very heavy Burma teak, the long keel weighing two and a quarter tons and 1.67 m deep is made of iron.

In 1965 Robin Knox Johnston, until then a naval officer, left India aboard Suhaili and reached England. In 1968, he set off on the Tour of the World, which he won and became the first boat in history to circumnavigate the globe non-stop. Suhaili becomes the most famous boat in the world. She sailed with mixed fortunes-in 1990 she dismasted in the middle of the Atalantic-until she prepared for a well-deserved rest when she became a British national monument at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

But her teak is suffering, and her owner, Knox Johnston, notices. So Suhaili is reborn to new life when he decides to restore her with his own hands and make her sail again. The “new” Suhaili is launched in November 2016, just in time to be celebrated and admired by participants in the new Golden Globe celebration. As then, departure from Falmouth (UK) on June 14, 2018, and round the world trip via the Cape of Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn, in which Italians will also participate and three replicas of Suhaili will be competing. But she, the original, remains the most beautiful.



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