Knox-Johnston, “Roaring Forties”

Robin Knox-Johnston whilst completing the first non-stop single handed circumnavigation of the world with Suhaili – 16 December 1968; 2018 being the 50th anniversary of this courageous and historic voyage ~ and a story that continues to be topical, to run today.


Roaring Forties”, the original, measures 76 x 121 cm (30″ x 48″), oils on canvas, commissioned by  Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and his wife Sue for his 50th birthday, Marine Art by Gordon Frickers.


Roaring Forties

Available on canvas for the look and feel of the real thing, a signed limited edition print from £147 inc postage.


We still have a few copies left (18.07.2018) of this fine art, museum quality print is signed by Robin Knox-Johnston, individually numbered; details below.

Our efforts with the painting were highly successful”~ Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Robin wrote me before we designed the painting together over a lunch at Putney. ~ for a brief inglorious moment there was me & two masts in sight & nothing but ocean in any direction for 2,000 miles“.

The standard looks great, the large as you saw is awesome.

I’d be delighted if you would like one unframed and pleased to offer you trade price.

Your offer Don works out as standard size £ 147 large size £ 227.

Your price will included traceable, registered, insured postage.

For your web site you can review my painting on the “Roaring Forties” page 

An order can be placed bank to bank ~ mine is Bank – Lloyds

Account name: G S A Frickers

A/C No. 01747109

Sort Code 309458

IBAN: GB37 LOYD 3094 58017471 09


A painting or print that hangs comfortably with the finest marine collections.

Looking for the best in fine art investments?

You have found it here.

Roaring Fortiesand the signed ‘Heritage’ prints for collectors (a few remain, see ) was specially commissioned by Robin and Sue Knox-Johnston for his 50th birthday.

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Robin and Suzanne were childhood sweethearts, were divorced before he left on the Golden Globe in 1968.

For long weeks Robin ‘disappeared. obituaries were prepared…  then romantically remarried after he returned.

His very readable, absorbing story can be found in his book, “A World of My Own”.

This painting has become famous, attracting world wide publicity in journals as varied as The Times (of London), Looyds List International to Reader’s Digest and continues to do so. 

NZZ am Sonntag

GGR2018 Poster

La Depeche  du Tarn, another GF/RK-J  article

Winning or losing do not seem the crux’s of the matter as you listen to one of yachting’s seminal figures explain his motives.

Age 26 at the time of the voyage, more recently aged 79, Robin said, “I hope this shows people sailing is a sport you can do from cradle to grave, and I’m not intending to rush to my grave,” he said from his yacht.


Sir Robin’s blog is at


In Robin Knox-Johnston’s letter to me, he asked if the scene, impossible to photograph he wrote, might make a painting?

Robin wrote, “I was working on the fore deck. As this huge Southern Ocean Greybeard approached, not the biggest but it looked dangerous, I leapt into 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.

Later he wrote, “To the Frickers family, from a very happy owner of an original G. Frickers painting, Robin K Johnston“. 

My treasured copy, inscribed


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Incidentally, Pete Goss OBE, Legion d’honor, another very distinguished sailor said one of the reasons he commissioned me to paint “Spirit of Mystery” was he so admired “Roaring Forties“. No one knows the great Southern Ocean better than Pete Goss.

Tracy Edwards, also an OBE, who owns my notable painting “Ice Maiden” made similar remarks, she too considers her painting one of her greatest treasures.

You can share in this.

Our Limited Edition is supervised and signed by both Robin Knox-Johnston and me, Gordon Frickers, and comes complete with a splendid RKJ quote in the margin.

You can order securely copies from our Print Gallery using Paypal or pay bank to bank using our Payment Page.


When Robin and I developed this painting in 1989 who could have guessed how quickly the sailing world would change with the introduction of the great circumnavigation races, Vendee Globe, Whitbread, Volvo, etc and much faster yachts?

Robin Knox-Johnston’s voyage in Suhaili was truly historic; with a boat designed in 1923 which he built himself at Bombay and still to this day owns.
Robin Knox-Johnston is the last of the circumnavigation pioneers, following in the wake of the racing wool clippers who’s numbers included “Cutty Sark” and Sir Francis Chichester.

Just as there was only one Magellan (first to lead a circumnavigation of the world) , one Francis Drake (first Englishman to circumnavigate the world and first captain to survive the event), one Joshua Slocum (first single handed yachtsman to circumnavigate the world), so Robin Knox-Johnston and “Suhaili” were first to circumnavigate single handed nonstop and rightfully take their place on that exclusive historic list.
There will be no more.
This painting, created with Sir Robin, is part of the legacy of our times.

A saga of triumph

Of the nine competitors who started the race in 1968, Robin Knox-Johnston was the only one who finished.
One, Donald Crowhurst, committed suicide in the North Atlantic.

It took Robin Knox-Johnston 313 days at sea and more of his life preparing to take the record in an adventure that changed his life.

Robin Knox-Johnston was out of contact for nearly six months because of radio transmitter problems, so was also taken for dead.
Obituaries were prepared.
Robin Knox-Johnston eventually got a message to a British tanker with the help of a signal lamp and by then he was not far from Falmouth, the port where he had started.

Robin Knox-Johnston has since sliced 200 + days off his 1969 time, his first circumnavigation reads very much as a passage from another time.

Back then, Robin Knox-Johnston packed dozens of cases of beer and dozens of novels.
He dived off his yacht with a line tied to his waist for the occasional swim.
He experienced the sort of isolation that today’s single-handed professionals, with their mandatory blogs, satellite phones and up-to-the-second weather reports, are no longer allowed, even should they wish to replicate.

Robin and Suzanne were childhood sweethearts, were divorced before he left on the Golden Globe in 1968, then romantically remarried after he returned.
Very sadly Sue died of ovarian cancer after a long illness. “I wouldn’t have wanted to leave her for that length of time to race one of these; wouldn’t have seen any reason to do it,” he said. “But now it’s different“. His story of the first voyage can be read in Robin Knox-Johnston’s book, “A world of my own”, Grafton Books, ISBN 0-246-13410-0 

A World of My Own

Gordon Frickers‘ copy of this book is inscribed, To the Frickers family, from a very happy owner of an original G. Frickers painting, Robin K Johnston.

Watch your TV and PC for Robin’s  latest voyage and the  Golden Globe Race 2018 !


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You might also read Peter Nichols’s 2001 book, “A Voyage for Madmen, which recounts with considerable verve the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968 and 1969 that Knox-Johnston won by completing his circumnavigation.


This famous painting could be on your wall soon if you order while stocks last, a great ‘after dinner’ topic, an inspiration to those who see life and tell the tale as it really is, to inspire people and endure long after we are gone.

You can order copies from our Print Gallery using Paypal.


Producing this famous painting

Whilst preparing for a single handed Trans Atlantic race, Knox-Johnston who had seen some unusual paintings of merchant ships, asked to meet the artist.
Finding they spoke “the same language”, soon after he had an idea for Gordon Frickers.
He wrote, “It would be impossible to photograph, maybe it would make a painting?

Challenge or what? !

The two worked closely developing sketches based on Robin’s recollection, known wave shapes and Southern Ocean weather, the appearance of Suhaili etc drawing on their experience.

The result is a painting that hangs comfortably with the finest marine collections.

Robin Knox-Johnston

Roaring Forties, the print.

The limited edition prints are signed by the duo.
The images are remarkable sharp Robin Knox-Johnston noticed details he had not seen on the original.
Produced on a tactile 340 gsm natural white cotton canvas using a 7 colour Ultrachrome process for faithful colour reproduction, guaranteed lightfast under normal conditions in excess of 75 years.
These pictures look and feel like the original and are a worthy addition to the best collections.

While the A2 standard print is a popular size, the A1 large size is simply stunning.


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An Appreciation

When I first saw the “Roaring Forties” I thought of the famous Japanese print “The Wave“.
The horror of a small boat about to be engulfed by the vastness of a huge sea.
The difference between “The Wave” is that we don’t know the ending because it’s in the artists mind. “Roaring Forties” however is real and Robin Knox-Johnston sailing “Suhaili” actually made it around the world and back to Falmouth.
Mrs. W. Trebilcock, Falmouth.

Abhilash Tomy built a ‘Suhali’ replica

 At the Golden Globe Race 2018, preparing to start, a typical comment to me on the penultimate day was from a skipper I met, Abilash Tommy of No 5, ‘Thuriya’, from India. 

With Istvan Kopar, USA

Robin Knox-Johnston born 17th March 1939, in Putney, London is the eldest of 4 brothers. 

Gordon Frickers & Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

His career started at sea in the Merchant Navy with the British India Steam Navigation Company, which later merged with P & O.

During that time he built his beloved  ‘Suhali’ at Bombay. 

One of the world’s most celebrated yachts

In 1962 he married Suzanne, (died 11.2003).
One daughter, Sara, born in Bombay 1963, & 5 grandchildren.
Robin Knox-Johnston has become a master mariner, very distinguished yachtsman and navigational specialist with a particular interest in ancient methods of navigation.
He is very active in many areas of the marine world, has been a director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London and is a Knight of the realm.

He built Suhaili while a cadet with B.I. in India, has had many other adventures with her and still owns her.

Painting of “Dumra”, Robin Knox-Johnston’s first ship.

She is one of the most famous boats in the story of sailing and still raced today and yet has been refused a rightful place on the British Historic Ships list, considered to small.

To our shame, if she was French she’d be on their list… Wake up Britons !


Gordon who?

Gordon Frickers studied fine art at Maidstone and then Medway Colleges of Art, now part of Kent University, full time for 5 years.

I am the only artist, painter, member of British Marine.

My career started in central London, as a qualified photographer, an assistant, specialising in advertising, fashion and the press.

Over many years I  built on my experiences including at the Painting School of Montmiral, in SW France.
My aim is for the originals to invariably have a high ‘WoW!’ factor, be widely recognised as distinctive, powerful, meticulously detailed, subtle, poetic yet unsentimental; sea paintings for sea men and women.
There is a list described by Audrey Hicks of Gallerie Marin, as “formidable” of distinguished individuals and famous companies who own examples of my work.

It is true to write I am the only marine artist to have been ‘Official Artist’ to HMS Victory, to have been invited to make a one man show at the exhibited at the European Parliament (May 2011). 
I am listed in Debretts, Who’s Who, Wikipedia and can be found on the Internet.


Order “Roaring Forties” now from our Print Gallery or regret at leisure!

Is any good fine art collection complete without a copy of “Roaring Forties“?


for a brief inglorious moment there was me & two masts in sight & nothing but ocean in any direction for 2,000 miles“.

The standard looks great, the large is awesome.

I’d be delighted if you would like one framed or unframed.

That offer works out unframed as standard size £ 147., large size £227.

Your price will included traceable, registered, insured postage.


Bank – Lloyds

Account name: G S A Frickers

A/C No. 01747109

Sort Code 309458

IBAN: GB37 LOYD 3094 58017471 09



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Robin Knox-Johnston:

1969 Awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
1970 UK Yachtsman of the Year
1970 Royal Cruising Club Seamanship Medal
1972 Elected a Younger Brother of Trinity House
1972 Member of the RNLI Committee of Management
1990 Silk Cut Nautical award Seamanship Trophy
1990 Honorary Doctorate – Maine Maritime Academy
1991 Royal Cruising Club Challenge Cup
1991 Cruising World Magazine (USA) Medal of honour
1992 Royal Institute of Navigation – Gold Medal for experiments with renaissance navigation
1992 Freeman of the City of London
1992 Awarded Honorary Doctor of Technology – Southampton University
1994 Elected Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation
1994 The Maritime Trust’s Cutty Sark Medal
1994 IYRU World Sailor of the year
1994 UK Yachtsman of the Year (2nd time)
1995 Hon Academician, The Maritime Institute (Portugal)
1995 The Institute of Navigation (USA) Superior Achievement Award
1995 Elected President of the Little Ship Club
1995 Knighted


Honorary Member – Royal Yacht Squadron
President – Little Ship Club
Hon Rear Commodore – Royal Naval Sailing Association
Hon Member – Royal Irish Yacht Club
Hon Member – Royal Harwich Yacht Club
Hon Member – Royal Western Yacht Club
Hon Member – Royal Southampton Yacht Club
Hon Member – Benfleet Yacht Club
Hon Member – Howth Yacht Club
Hon Member – County Wicklow Yacht Club


“Suhaili” is built of teak.
Designed by William Atkins as “Eric” in 1923, her design is based on the Norwegian sailing lifeboat designs of Colin Archer.
Thames Tonnage 14.
Net Tonnage 6.29.
Official Number 306242 of London.
Signal Letters MHYU.


“Suhaili” still belongs to RKJ and is now berthed, afloat, on the pontoon of the new National Maritime Museum-Cornwall, in Falmouth, and she is still loved, still sailed.


Is any good fine art collection complete without a copy of “Roaring Forties”?

Looking for the best? You have found it here.

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You can order copies from our Print Gallery using Paypal.

Contact US ~ T:+ 44 (0)1865 52 2435  or Skype ‘gordonfrickers’

 whatsapp, or phone M: + 33 (0)6 10 66 19 26

Email ~ Important ! please substitute ‘at’ for @:

Copyright 2018  fees and our Terms are among the most generous on the Internet, don’t hesitate to ask for details  

Gordon Frickers © 03.03.2012, updated 08,04,2018, 30.05.2018, 13.06.2018, 17.07.2018

Member, Marine Trades Federation

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