The Golden Globe Race and the Roaring Forties

“Roaring Forties”, was commissioned by Sir Robin and Sue Knox-Johnston for his 50th birthday

Only days away from the start of the 50th Golden Globe Race, the non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race, Gordon Frickers, looks back on the painting he was commissioned to paint by Sir Robin Knox-Johnson.

The painting, “Roaring Forties”, was specially commissioned by Sir Robin and Sue Knox-Johnston for his 50th birthday, as were the signed ‘Heritage’ prints for collectors (a few remain, see below).

Sir Robin asked if Frickers could make a painting of a particular moment showing his beloved ‘Suhali’ in the Southern Ocean?

In Sir Robin’s letter, he asked if the scene, impossible to photograph, might make a painting?

In a classic, cool comment, Sir Robin wrote:

"I was working on the fore deck, as this huge Southern Ocean Greybeard approached. Not the biggest, but it looked dangerous, I climbed the rigging to avoid being swept away."

"For a brief inglorious moment there was me and two masts in sight and nothing but ocean in any direction for 2,000 miles" (‘Suhaili’ on the 16 December 1968).

Sir Robin went on to commission two more painting from Gordon - "The Clipper Way" and "Dumra departing Bombay".

Discover more about this very remarkable print, as well as more about Gordon Frickers at

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