Velux 5 Oceans: Sir Robin Knox-Johnson makes offering to Neptune

Thursday, 16 November 2006

25 days into the VELUX 5 Oceans Yacht Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston officially crossed the equator on his 60-foot yacht Saga Insurance at 1308 GMT today - a monumental milestone for all sailors. Sir Robin now heads into the southern hemisphere with the aim of racing towards Fremantle, Australia for the first scheduled stop in this epic round-the-world race. 

Robin Knox-Johnston said: “I greeted King Neptune and his Court as Saga Insurance and I crossed the equator, it would be very poor manners not to.  We know each other well from many previous encounters and I have no potential subjects for him to examine this time so it is just a social visit.   There will be recognition of this milestone in the traditional manner, a glass of Aisher whisky and the sea can have a small sensation as well. Then on into a SE'l Force 5 (wind), warm and bouncy conditions, but at least we are moving at last. RKJ”

Sir Robin has crossed the equator 8 times on a sailing yacht, but well over 30 times whilst serving in the Merchant Navy.

Seafaring tradition maintains that all sailors who cross the equator during a nautical voyage must undergo rites of passage and elaborate rituals.   These include giving offerings to the god of sea, Neptune.  This ceremony has existed for centuries and assures a safe passage, unmolested by the terrible dragons and sea serpents supposed to inhabit the deep.

Sir Robin is currently in 5th place in the race rankings, but hopes to begin to gain some miles on the leaders having resolved some of his recent technical problems.  Crossing the equator will also give him a psychological boost as he prepares for the Southern Ocean.

Sophy Williams:
Velux 5 Oceans photos

Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 November 2006 )