Sir Robin has explained the secret of his success by saying : "When I was on a cadet ship and we were about 50-50 grammar and public school, there was a difference. It showed in funny ways. For instance, the bullies tended to be grammar school boys. I think if you’d been a boarder at a public school you’d been through it there. I do think they had this ethos of ‘Do it, go for it, don’t look back’.”
'Top Dogs.' The three men were shown visiting the Tora Bora caves in Afghanistan, Cape Horn and the tundra of Newfoundland and he agrees that it is significant that all three of them were ex- public school boys. In addition, he said of mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington : “We go climbing occasionally. He went to private school. It is boarding, I think. But no question."
"no question" in Sir Robin's case was Berkhamsted Boys' School in Hertfordshire, which his parents coughed up the money for him to attend, as a boarder, from 1957 to 1968 and where he acquired the qualities which assured his success as a sailor. With its motto 'Virtus laudata crescit' or 'greatness increases with praise' it was originally founded in 1541 by the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, John Incent.
Thankfully, Graham’s analyst did change his direction, encouraged him to write and introduced him to a literary circle and he returned to Berkhamsted Boys' School as a day-boy. Also, while continuing to play truant to avoid bullies he used the ‘spare’ time reading adventure stories and the tales which deeply influenced his future writing.
Sir Robin is in the news again because he is considering a drastic end to Suhaili, his 32ft ketch, which is showing its age and has suggested that perhaps he should arrange for her to be burnt with his body. “It’s something I should think about. I think it would be unfair to leave it to the grandchildren. I could have a Viking funeral, I suppose.”
It was Suhaili which was was knocked flat in the Southern Ocean in 1969 and nearly had its roof torn off, where Sir Robin was thrown from his bunk, drenched in seawater and realised that if he did not bolt his cabin back together he would die in an open boat. No doubt the old public school ethos kicked in and saw him through and privilege, once again, paid off.