Robin Knox-Johnston enjoys a cleansing dip in the Atlantic on Leg 2 of the Velux 5-Oceans Race 8/3/07

Log dateThursday 8 March 2007
Position Lat 25 48S Long 037 30 W
Miles To Norfolk, USA 4,719 nm
Distance In 24 Hours 81.8 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours 3.41 knots

Not much progress in the last 24 hours I’m afraid. The problem I have now is that the winds I want, the Trade Winds, are moving as fast as we are, but in the same direction, so as we move north-east 100 miles, so do they. The result is that we are being held back here and there is nothing we can do about it. At some point the system will stop moving and we’ll get through, but it might take a few days. In the meantime the others are into the Trades and moving fast in the right direction and opening up a larger gap between Saga Insurance and them. The poor continue to get poorer. We are out of the race until we can get wind and in fact I find it best not to think about the race, it’s too depressing, and this delay has now stretched too long.

One interesting thing I have noticed is that the wind goes light in the afternoons, but comes up once the sun has set. This has happened the last three days. Today was the worst, we actually stopped completely for an hour, so I took the opportunity to have a swim and check beneath the boat. The propeller blades are a bit stiff, but otherwise everything seemed OK and there was no obvious damage from the kelp weed. Although the boat appeared almost stopped, in fact once you are in the water alongside, she seems to be moving quite fast, but I had a safety line out astern in case.

It was a great opportunity to have a good wash, so after the first dive I climbed back on board, smothered myself in Fairy Liquid, and went in again to rinse. As one rinse was insufficient I went in again, it is nice to have one’s hair squeaking again. The water temperature was 31 degrees Celsius, a bit too hot to be really refreshing, but the cabin was so hot that it felt good in comparison.

In a way I am not looking forward to getting further north and even hotter weather, but hope by then I will have the trade winds to keep the temperature down a bit. Last night the wind did not come up as usual, instead we found ourselves amongst heavy rain clouds and had three hours of squalls, one minute becalmed, the next doing 12 knots, but in any direction. Frustrating because you cannot get rest in those circumstances.

The makers of technical electronic programmes love being able to add little devices to their menus, and one of these is usually an alarm. Sometimes they cry wolf and demand attention unnecessarily and sometimes they give valuable warnings. Last night was the former, so I disconnected the main offender. Tough, I have to live here and that noise would have driven me out of the cabin in seconds flat.