Velux 5-Oceans Race competitor Robin Knox-Johnston 3,370 miles to Leg 2 finish line in Norfolk 15/3/07

Log date Thursday 15 March 2007
Position Lat 03 49 S Long 35 07 W
Miles To Norfolk, USA 3,370 nm
Distance In 24 Hours 266.3 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours 11.09 knots

My rhumb line distance behind Unai at 00:44 this morning was 1,535 miles.

There is now no land between us as we rounded the corner of Brazil last night. The wind, although from a good direction, has gone light. Though, not what the weather file said but that’s not new. Someone has commented that I went 45 miles to seaward of Recife and thus added distance between Unai and myself. That is true.

However, the night before last I found myself in a shipping lane and had two very close encounters. One was a container ship heading north on a converging course. He made no alteration and I ended up luffed up to let him overtake at a safe interval, probably four cable. The other was a vessel coming south who cut straight towards me and I ended up having to bear sharply away. I was well illuminated so if they were keeping a lookout they should have seen me, and they should have seen me and been able to plot my course on their radars. I suspect a lot of this is down to not understanding how yachts sail, but anyway, since some of these vessels do not have their radars on, which I can detect, I decided I did not want another sleepless night and stood clear, maybe unnecessarily, but we are still here and racing.

During yesterday morning we were joined by a large school of dolphins, hopping along in and out of the water. There must have been at least 150 of them, clearly having an enjoyable time and they played with the boat for a few minutes and then something must have distracted them. Rather like Labrador dogs really. Then later we started to see Portuguese-men-of-war, which are jellyfish. They have a translucent mauve float, which looks the shape and size of a Cornish pasty, but their tentacles extend 10 or more feet below and can give a very nasty sting. Turtles eat them thank goodness but I have not seen any turtles here yet.

As we cleared Recife it was time to get the reacher out. I don’t know what it is about this sail, it is lovely once set, but it has a habit of making setting or handing extremely difficult. This time it got itself behind the rig support booms and refused to jump back. It took almost an hour to get it to blow clear and resume the hoist. Once up it was fine of course but I am not looking forward to whatever tricks it may have in mind when it becomes necessary to roll it up again. I reckoned 90 minutes of hard work in a boiling sun warranted a ‘headland*’, there were no abstentions.

Very hot now and the cabin never really cools down, not helped by having to run the engine for charging. I tried sleeping on deck but a brisk rain shower put paid to that, so sweltered uneasily instead. Once I’ve sent this I might just get some sleep.


* A drink!