The origin of Messing About In Sailboats

  • The original quote is from Kenneth Grahame's Wind In the Willows: "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

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March 17, 2009


thomas armstrong

Perhaps, (this is arguably the greatest sailing feat in our lifetime), notwithstanding Moitessier's retiring from the race he would have won and sailing on to the Pacific islands to pursue a 'more pure' form of sailing on terms dictated by himself, his boat, and the sea.Perhaps Bernard's feat was as great,or greater, being able to eschew the honors and adulation (and money)and seek out a life of sailing for it's intrinsic rewards.
Not to diminish Knox Johnston, I will celebrate him as you suggest.

Carol Anne

While RKJ may have received adulation, everything I have ever read indicates that adulation wasn't his goal -- he just wanted the accomplishment, not the fame.

He and Moitessier both had spectacular accomplishments. The primary difference between the two is their underlying philosophies. RKJ was more focused on the pragmatic; Moitessier was focused (to the extent that he could be described as being focused) on his own personal vision.


Cool idea. RKJ deserves it. And he's still, 40 years later, contributing to the offshore sailing world.

Without RKJ we wouldn't have had Sam Davies, Ellen or Mike Golding. will participate!

Sheila - BLOG: All About Boats, So It Goes...

This is such a GREAT idea. I will put an alarm on my calendar to remind me, plus pre-schedule a post for that day!

Bob & I felt quite fortunate to have seen his boat in London way back when... It's too bad we don't have a photo.

Happy belated birthday, RKJ.


Great idea!

I don't know that I'd ever actually have the nerve, but I love the fact that Sir Knox-Johnston runs an ocean race that even an ordinary middle-class, non-elite person like me could theoretically participate in.

I found out about the race when our friend Brian, from A Moveable Bridge, went and did it! Sent back some pretty harrowing reports, very exciting to read. Didn't always sound like fun but that's an amazing experience that Sir Knox-Johnston has opened up to a lot of people who might otherwise not have any chance at such a thing.

Really a wonderful use of the influence he's earned.

Shoot, that just might be my RKJ-day post right there! in case anyone's curious!


I haven't sailed with RKJ, but I did have a drink with him! I'll definitely do a post on the 22nd. It'll be an RKJ Day webroots revolution.


RKJ has made a career out of that effort, promoting himself well. Yet I much more admire Moitessier, who in fact was the first person to go around single handed non-stop (he did cross his own path before turning around) and Moitessier's life philosophy is so fresh compared to RKJ who built a business with good self promotion.

I do think however that RKJ is doing a great thing by offering people a chance to sail around the world too.

Pat Mccann

I saw RKJ in Cleveland,OH about 20 years ago. Gave a talk and slide show of his trip to Greenland. Very nice and to a packed house. I had read "A World of My Own" several years before. One of my few personnel heroes!

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