Robin Knox-Johnston, his iconic painting available as a print, of the first non-stop single handed circumnavigation of the world.
With “Suhaili“ – 16 December 1968; a story that continues to be topical and a yacht he built and to this day still owns.
76 x 122 cm, (30″ x 48″), the fabulous ‘Roaring Forties’ was commissioned by Sir Robin and his wife Sue for his 50th birthday and is owned by Sir Robin Knox-Johnson.
Robin is often seen standing in front of my/our painting when interviewed for TV and videos.
The awesome “Roaring Forties” print is available on canvas for the look and feel of the real thing, a signed limited edition print from £187 inc postage.
Our Limited Edition is supervised and signed by both Robin Knox-Johnston and me, Gordon Frickers, and comes complete with ‘THE’ splendid RKJ quote in the margin.
Price unframed includes packing, insurance and traceable courier.
image size: 50 x 34 cm (19½" x 13½")
Number remaining in stock: 3
image size: 73 x 49 cm (28½" x 19½")
Number remaining in stock: 2
Extra, a remarque (an individual drawing in the margin) can be added and we can supply framed at a quality and price high street shops can’t beat.
You can find more print information current prices and order from our ‘Prints’ page or order direct from ‘Payments’.
Buy now, this is a number limited edition, when the last is sold there will be no more.
A Nice quote with my thanks:
Received the print and I love it! Beautiful and powerful image. I am considering getting another, the smaller version for my nephews Christmas present and I still would love an original. Thank you so much! – RobDr. Rob Richardson DDS in email dated Tue, 28 Aug 2018 at 23:22
This is a painting or print which will hang comfortably with the finest marine collections.
Looking for the best?
You have found it here.
Robin wrote me
In Robin Knox-Johnston’s letter to me, he asked if the scene, impossible to photograph he wrote, might make a painting?
“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.”Robin Knox-Johnston describing “Suhaili“ on the 16 December 1968
In his letter Robin when on:
“Impossible to photograph, could you create a painting?”
“Our efforts with the painting were highly successful.”Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
Marine Art by Gordon Frickers.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is the last of the circumnavigation pioneers, following in the wake of the racing wool clippers who’s numbers included the illustrious “Cutty Sark” and Sir Francis Chichester.
“Roaring Forties” and the signed ‘Heritage’ prints for collectors was specially commissioned by Robin and Sue Knox-Johnston.
His story of the famous first voyage can be read in Robin Knox-Johnston’s book, “A world of my own”, Grafton Books, ISBN 0-246-13410-0
My copy of this book is inscribed:
Robin K Johnston.To the Frickers family, from a very happy owner of an original G. Frickers painting.
For long weeks Robin ‘disappeared’, all contact was lost.
Obituaries were prepared; then he spoke with a British Tanker in the Atlantic; he was nearing home.
His very readable, absorbing story can be found in his book, about the famous first voyage can be read in Robin Knox-Johnston’s book, “A world of my own”, Grafton Books, ISBN 0-246-13410-0
When presenting a copy of his book, Robin Knox-Johnston wrote:
Robin K Johnston.To the Frickers family, from a very happy owner of an original G. Frickers painting.
“Roaring Forties” the painting
This painting has become famous, attracting world wide publicity in journals as varied as The Times (of London), Lloyds List International to Reader’s Digest and continues to do so.
Winning or losing doesn’t seem the crux 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.”Robin Knox-Johnston to Gordon Frickers on board Robin’s beloved ‘Suhali’.
Sir Robin’s blog is at http://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/TeamSagaInsurance/rkjBlog/index.asp
Pete Goss MBE, Legion d’Honneur, 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 MBE, owns my notable painting “Ice Maiden” and she made similar remarks, she too considers her painting one of her greatest treasures.
You can share in these historic adventures by owning one of the numbered, co-signed limited edition prints.
The historic voyage of Suhaili
Robin Knox-Johnston’s voyage in Suhaili was truly historic; with a boat designed in 1923 which he built himself at Bombay (now named Mumbia), India, and Robin Knox-Johnston still owns and sails Suhaili to this day.
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?
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, yours, mine, Robin’s.
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.
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 classic painting is 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.
By credit card 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”, he had an idea for Gordon Frickers and said he would write in about six months.
True to his word, he wrote with his idea, “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.
Produced on a tactile cotton canvas using a 7 colour Ultrachrome process for faithful colour reproduction, guaranteed light fast under normal conditions in excess of 75 years.
These pictures look and feel like the original, are a worthy addition to your collection.
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.
At the Golden Globe Race 2018, preparing to start, a typical comment to me on the penultimate day from a skipper I met, Abilash Tommy of No 5, ‘Thuriya’, from India was, “you are Gordon Frickers? You have no idea how many times I have admired your painting“.
Robin Knox-Johnston, a short biography
Robin Knox-Johnston, born 17th March 1939, in Putney, London, is the eldest of 4 brothers.
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 ‘Suhaili’ at Bombay.
He built Suhaili while a cadet with the British India Steam Navigation Company, at that time the largest, most successful shipping company in the world, founded by two Scots, based in India.
Robin has had many other adventures with her and still owns ‘Suhali‘.
In 1962 he married Suzanne,
Robin and Suzanne were childhood sweethearts, were divorced before he left on the Golden Globe in 1968. They romantically remarried after he returned.
Very sadly Sue has died of ovarian cancer after a long illness (died 11.2003).
“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“.
They have 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.
Suhali 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 Briton’s shame, if she was French she’d be on their list… Wake up Britons !
Gordon Frickers, a short biography
I studied fine art at Maidstone and then Medway Colleges of Art, now part of Kent University, full time for 5 years.
My career started in central London, as a qualified photographer, an assistant, specialising in advertising, fashion and the press.
My aim is simple.
To be the best painter I can be and for my artwork originals and prints to have a high ‘WoW!’ factor.
Ideally to be widely recognised as distinctive, powerful, meticulously detailed, and yet subtly poetic, unsentimental; sea paintings for sea men and women.
Over many years I built on my experiences and education including at the renowned Painting School of Montmiral, in SW France.
The list of distinguished individuals and famous companies who own examples of my work is is described by Audrey Hicks of Gallerie Marin, as “formidable”.
I am the only artist, painter, to have been a member of the British Marine Federation.
I am honoured to be 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.
Many distinguished people and renowned companies have chosen Frickers paintings as you can discover by reading my illustrated résumée.
Gordon Frickers is one of the very few artists invited to created a one man show of (35) paintings (May 2011) at the European Parliament, Brussels.
Historical inaccuracy abounds; here as one of my followers put it, “you get a front row seat to history” and is in most instances, as near truth as near ‘documentary’, as meticulous, diligent research can get.
Propaganda, half truths and outright lies, there is so much in circulation.
I make a very considerable effort to present you with art work which gives you a feeling of intimacy and when ever possible, accurate.
Order your “Roaring Forties” now from our Print Gallery or regret at leisure!
“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.
Unframed as standard size £187 (about $240), large size £337 (about $430).
Your picture will sent with included traceable, registered, insured postage.
Robin Knox-Johnston Chronology
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
Robin Knox-Johnston Memberships
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 often berthed, afloat, on the pontoon of the new National Maritime Museum-Cornwall, in Falmouth, 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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Copyright © Gordon Frickers 2012, updated 5 October 2023
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