Sir Robin Knox-Johnston smiling to camera wearing cap

Doctor of the University

A four-time UK Yachtsman of the Year who has sailed around the world several times.

At 17, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston went to sea, a Merchant Navy Officer Cadet with the British India Steam Navigation Co. Eight years later, in 1965, he gained his Master's Certificate and, not long after, became the first person ever to sail solo and non-stop around the world in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race of 1968/69. He was the only competitor, of nine, to complete the race which took 312 days to complete.

In 1973 and 1975, he was a member of the British Admirals Cup team. In 1994, he was presented the Jules Verne Trophy for fastest nonstop circumnavigation of the world. The first International Yacht Racing Union Sailor of the Year in 1995, he completed the Velux 5 Oceans race around the world, solo, at the tender age of 68. He came in third.

Sir Robin has been a member and trustee of multiple charitable organisations and, during his tenure as President of the Sail Training Association from 1992 to 2001, was instrumental in raising £11 million for two new brigs. He is a Patron of CatZero, a sailing training initiative that gives disadvantaged youth in Hull the chance to build a better life.

He was a member of the Sports Lottery and English Sports Council from 1995 to 2002, trustee of the Greenwich National Maritime Museum from 1993 to 2001, trustee of the Cutty Sark Restoration Committee, patron of the Cruising Association, and Chairman of Clipper Ventures plc since 1996.

A four-time UK Yachtsman of the Year, Sir Robin was awarded a CBE in 1969 and knighted in 1995. He has been Honorary Captain of the Royal Navy Reserve since 2015 and Younger Brother of Trinity House since 1972.

He holds six honorary doctorates, among them one from the University of Portsmouth. He has published 18 books, including A World of My Own, Running Free and Cape Horn: A Maritime History. More recently, he has become President of the International Association of Cape Horners.