Robin Knox-Johnston records his best 24-hour run to date 23/3/07

Log date Friday 23 March 2007
Position Lat 17 05N Long 05 43W
Miles to Norfolk, USA 1,591 nm
Distance In 24 Hours 302.3
Average Speed In 24 Hours 12.38 knots

We have covered 302.3 miles since 0900 yesterday, our best 24-hour run to date and are currently on the same latitude as Antigua. According to the computer weather maps I should have the wind just north of east, in fact it was north-east by north, which would allow me to lay Norfolk if I went harder on the wind.

The wind charts also show the wind veering to south of east but on past performance it is too risky to believe what they say, so instead of freeing off and speeding up I am still relatively hard on the wind. When I spoke to James Boyd yesterday morning he said the weather he was looking at showed easterlies, so the basic information being used by everyone is inaccurate. Incidentally, wonders of modern technology, we were cut off four times during a short conversation and had to redial each time. That’s not the record, six is. I’ll say no more.

Frequent squalls, which means constant attention to the sails onboard Saga Insurance, the wind from 6 to 24 knots and backing or veering 60-70 or more degrees, but they often bring rain which is a cool blessing. The mainsheet has to be eased before she responds to those sudden squalls, and then she will bear off. There’s been a ‘Stand To’ the last few nights at sunset, as that seems to be when the clouds darken and the squalls come in for certain. Last night was the first time I have worn oilies for weeks, so it’s getting cooler.

The forward bathroom is getting colder. Lying on deck letting the waves pile over is not quite the pleasure it was. But it brought to my attention that my hair was getting a bit long, so I got out the sail making scissors and had a good snip round. I don’t know what it looks like but it feels a lot better. A larger flying fish on deck yesterday, eatable size, but the eyes had lost their shine and I won’t eat them unless they have bright eyes.

Unai [Basurko] should finish to-day so the count will begin to see what lead he will have over me for the last leg. There are two Unais. One is my Basque friend, the other is the competitor and I think of them very differently. But I am pleased for my friend who can now enjoy “A quiet sleep and sweet dreams when the long tricks over”.