Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
“I’m off to shoot the first man to sail singlehandedly around the world without stopping” I told my 6 year old son on the day on this shoot. He looked at me before he replied with one of the best questions I can imagine anyone asking, not least a 6 year old: “How did he get water to drink”. I had no clue and to be honest the thought never entered my head. During the shoot with Sir Robin Knox I was told by the man himself that he collected the condensation from the sail. This is of course just one of the many issues that come with sailing around the world, and he did it back in the days when the thought of doing any thing like what Sir Robin has done was beyond comprehension.
My grandad was a captain on a ship in Norway before, during and after WWII and I have grown up hearing stories of the sea. It was then especially strange when, a few minutes into the shoot, it struck me that he looked a little like my Norwegian granddad, followed by a hit in the stomach as he also reminded me of my dad. in the moments that may not be so evident through the pictures, but the mannerisms, nose, something about the eyes, the curls, and a slight smell of cigarettes – all reminded me of my dad. Admittedly, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was a healthier version of my dad, especially my dad’s latter years, but never the less the resemblance was poignant – as if he was my dad if my dad had chosen to follow my grandads footsteps and become a sailor.
At the end of the shoot, after creating the cover images needed, we headed off down to the harbour where I got to step on that boat that once sailed the world without stopping. And that is really when the scale of his achievement truly struck me; the only thing between Sir Robin and the vast open sea was a floating object made of wooden planks, no bigger that a couple of football goals put together.