Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's yacht Saga Insurance to be named by Roger Taylor

Friday 22 September 2006

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's yacht Saga Insurance to be named by Roger Taylor

  • Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to circumnavigate the world in epic VELUX 5 Oceans single-handed yacht race
  • 'Saga Insurance' will be named at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth today by Roger Taylor
  • Follow Sir Robin’s progress at

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's Open 60 racing yacht will be officially named 'Saga Insurance' at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth today by rock legend Roger Taylor. 37 years after becoming the first person ever to sail single-handed and non-stop round the world, Sir Robin is once again pitting himself against the elements alone in the VELUX 5 Oceans single-handed yacht race.

The naming ceremony will serve as a significant milestone in Team Saga Insurance's preparations for the start of the race in Bilbao, Spain on 22 October. At key moments on land and at sea Sir Robin will play the inspirational song 'Don’t Stop Me Now' by Queen, reflecting his determination to overcome any obstacles to success, so it is apt that Roger Taylor will join him in Portsmouth to officially name 'Saga Insurance'. At 67 Sir Robin is the oldest and most experienced skipper in the competitive fleet, but his campaign demonstrates that age is no barrier to achieving at the highest level.

Early next week 'Saga Insurance' will depart from UK waters and head for the start port of the ultimate challenge. During the circumnavigation, completed in three legs, Sir Robin will encounter all manner of conditions, from mountainous waves to violent storms and freezing conditions in the Southern Ocean, all while racing against the world's top single-handed sailors.

'Saga Insurance' has undergone a major refit in preparation for these extreme offshore conditions, including new sails, Volvo engine, keel, rigging and instruments provided by Raymarine, which will allow Sir Robin to use his wealth of experience to push the performance racing yacht to its full potential. Today the new-look yacht will be unveiled to the public for the first time for a traditional champagne naming ceremony, and crowds are expected to gather on the quayside to see two legends of their respective worlds.

Commenting on his preparations for the race Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: "During our preparation of 'Saga Insurance', the naming ceremony has always been marked as a turning point - the time when we move into a higher gear in anticipation of the race start in just a few weeks time. We are very happy with the work carried out, and I am thoroughly looking forward to the voyage in the knowledge that 'Saga Insurance' will be fully equipped for the job.

"While there has been much curiosity about my position as the oldest skipper taking part, I have been far too busy living life and getting everything in place for a successful campaign to ponder the subject of age!"

Commenting on the naming ceremony, Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive, Saga said: "Seeing 'Saga Insurance' afloat and officially named in readiness for this epic voyage will be a very proud moment. Sir Robin's campaign to take on the world's oceans is a perfect example of the extraordinary feats achievable by the over 50s and we are thoroughly looking forward to backing the team throughout this inspirational race."

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Saga Insurance is part of the Saga Group, which is the UK's leading provider of products and services specifically designed for people aged 50 and over. With over 2 million customers Saga provides insurance, financial services and holidays, publishes the monthly Saga Magazine and owns and operates three radio stations.

About the VELUX 5 OCEANS – The Ultimate Solo Challenge

The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the oldest and most established, single-handed round the world yacht race. With a rich sporting heritage, the race has been contested every four years since 1982, previously under the titles of 'BOC Challenge' and more recently 'Around Alone.'

In 2006, the race celebrates its 25th Jubilee year and, with new title sponsors, VELUX, is set to be greater than ever before. The 30,000 mile three-leg race is scheduled to begin in Bilbao on 22nd October and will stop in Australia and the USA before returning to Bilbao approximately 6 months later. The introduction of fewer stopovers and shorter preparation times between legs has been specifically introduced to provide a more cost effective global marketing opportunity for entrants and their sponsors.

Over the years, the race has consistently attracted a wide spread of entries from around the globe, making heroes of many celebrated yachtsmen and women, including Mike Golding, Philippe Jeantot, Giovanni Soldini, Jean-Luc van den Heede, Isabelle Autissier, Bernard Stamm and Emma Richards.

Issue date: 22nd September 2006

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.

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