Flanagan is averaging 100-miles a day as he attempts to sail 'vertically' around the world 30/07/07

Adrian Flanagan, whose Alpha Global Expedition to sail solo around the world on the ‘vertical’ route had stalled in Russia during inspections, is making good speed and distance since setting sail from Provideniya on 22 July (see map). However, despite Adrian’s advances the weekend saw some uncomfortable waters, sleep interruption, malfunctioning equipment and a little homebaking:

29 July: “Friday was a bit hairy – winds built to 27 knots, which is not terrifically high but in these shallow waters seas kick up without too much encouragement. Waves break early and short wavelengths conspire to create an uncomfortable situation. With Barrabas’s stability compromised by her massive fuel load, my concern alarm started ringing…I took the headsail in, jibed the main and stopped the boat?took the headsail off the pole, dropped the main and ran with reefed headsail. I’ve managed 3-4 hours sleep in the last thirty but I seem to be able to get by on very little rest.”

“We are doing well in terms of mileage, averaging 106 miles per day. Barrabas has been under sail for 30 hours at time of writing, saving fuel. I kept her on autopilot, not expecting to be under sail for quite such a period but the autopilot sucks juice from the battery bank so I deployed the Hydrovane self-steering with a new bigger and better balanced rudder. The Hydrovane is holding course perfectly downwind.”

“After that came bread baking. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t eaten anything for days bar the odd bit of chocolate but the bread with whipped butter and blackberry jam tasted pretty good to me.”

30 July: “We are sailing in good downwind conditions under full headsail. At 0400 this morning I was in my bunk trying to sleep. The boat began to roll quite violently. I checked the GPS. Our course had moved from 285 to 300. The wind was due to veer to the east so under the direction of the self-steering gear this change made sense. So why were we taking wave impacts right on the beam? The boat should have been going with the waves, orchestrated as they are by wind direction. My sleep-starved mind took a while to figure it out.

The self-steering must have failed. Clambering from my warm bag I went on deck to check Harry (the Hydrovane). Sure enough the connection between the wind vane and the rudder shaft had loosened so movements of the vane were not being transmitted to the rudder itself. The fix was simple – a couple of bolts needed tightening.

This meant getting down onto the sugar scoop at water level. Meanwhile, 7-foot waves were marching at me. After being swept off the boat at the front end of the expedition in similar circumstances?I was taking no chances. Strapped on, roped on, dry-suited and with a temporary licence as a fully prayed-up member of the God squad, I went to work. Ten minutes later – job done. Ten minutes after that I was back in my bag while Harry held course and very soon I was fast asleep.”