Maintain mental stimulation when alone

Published on March 26th, 2020

Robin Knox-Johnston, who in 1969 was the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, reflects on how he endured his nautical quarantine:


Isolation can be incredibly frustrating. But it does not have to be. People ask how did I manage 312 days alone at sea, but the answer is that I was constantly busy. I had a boat to sail, navigate (before satellites), maintain, steer, plus feed myself.

But in that lies the answer; create a project to focus the mind and pass the time. If you are a yachtsman, you can learn and practice your knots, or how to throw a line ashore. If you are a landsman, well, those knots are always useful.

Bear in mind I had no one to talk with. No communications at all for most of the time, so I had to think of things that would keep me mentally stimulated. I took to learning poetry. We have wonderful poetry in the English language, but anything that makes the mind work is good.

Editor’s note: If you did want to work on your sailing knots, the American Sailing Association has training videos to help: click here.

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