THE boat that survived a round-the-world voyage and sailed the intrepid adventurer Sir Robin Knox-Johnston into the history books could be sold abroad.

Sir Robin fears bureaucracy may be more than a match for his beloved Suhaili, in which he became the first person to circumnavigate the globe single-handed.

Sir Robin has said the boat is too small to qualify for grants and protection from the National Register of Historic Vessels and could be sold abroad once he can no longer keep her shipshape.

The sailor set off from Falmouth, Cornwall, in Suhaili on June 14, 1968 and returned triumphant after 312 days at sea on April 22, 1969. He was the only one of eight entrants in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race to finish.

Suhaili was put on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and in Falmouth, Cornwall, but Sir Robin said he had to take her back because her hull was in danger of cracking.

Speaking to The Times, Sir Robin said: “Suhaili is a piece of our maritime history but you should never underestimate the bureaucrats. I will not be parting with Suhaili for a long time, but at some point I will need to find a home for her. I would prefer that to be somewhere in Britain in the hope she might inspire young people here to think they can do things in life.

“It would be a shame if she doesn’t remaain in the country but I need to make sure she goes somewhere where she will be looked after properly.”

He is considering the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia and Mystic Seaport in Connecticut because he says “the United States is very good at looking after their old boats. Perhaps we are not as good”.

The single-handed race around the world in 1968 captured the UK’s imagination and was front page news for many months.

While Sir Robin won the race, the story of Donald Crowhurst, who entered the race to save his business with the prize money, also became famous after he ended up sailing in circles sending false position reports. He is believed to have committed suicide realising his ruse would be discovered, and his boat was found drifting in the Atlantic. His journey is now the subject of a film, The Mercy, starring Colin Firth.

Sir Robin gave his £5,000 prize money to Crowhurst’s family.