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Veteran sailor and grandfather-of-five Sir Robin Knox-Johnston nets third place

By Ben Mitchell

Veteran sailor and grandfather-of-five Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has claimed third place in his class as he crossed the finishing line of a solo transatlantic race at the age of 75 - 45 years after he became the first man to sail alone non-stop around the world.

Sir Robin, who founded the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race which has featured the Derry/Londonderry/Doire entry, returned to his solo ocean-racing roots by entering his Open 60 yacht Grey Power into the Route du Rhum competition which started yesterday in St Malo, France. The pensioner, who was the oldest participant, last competed in the 3,542-mile race from St Malo to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean in 1982 in his 70ft catamaran Olympus.

And this is his first solo race since his Velux 5 Oceans circumnavigation in 2006-7, which he also sailed in Grey Power.

Sir Robin came third in the Rhum class as he crossed the finish line at Pointe a Pitre at 4.52pm local time after 20 days, 7 hours, 52 minutes and 22 seconds at sea. When he last sailed in the race 32 years ago he finished in 14th place in a time of 20 days, 20 hours, 20 minutes, holding off his nearest rival who was 20 miles behind.

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