Robin Knox-Johnston catches up with sleep on final approach to 5-Oceans Race Leg 2 finish 29/3/07

Log date Thursday 29 March 2007
Position Lat 34 33 N Long 70 12W
Miles To Norfolk, USA 339 nm
Distance In 24 Hours 145.2 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours 6.05 knots

One of the most infuriating things in sailing is to find that the weather conditions put you straight downwind from your destination, which adds a good 50 per cent to the distance to go.

What rubs salt in the wound is looking at the waves and realising that the wind had, until quite recently, been favourable for one tack straight for the finish. That was yesterday. So Saga Insurance bashed north all day with a WNW wind of 18-20 knots, making good time, but not where we wanted to go and hoping the wind would veer at some stage.

It was not all bad news. With good winds the wind change alarm was not going off and I went for a quick rest and awoke five hours later when the radar alarm went off. This has been my longest, uninterrupted sleep for a long time. The radar alarm had discovered a car carrier, coming in from the east, and as I was the giving way vessel I altered course to go round his stern, passing about a half mile away.

The trouble with a long sleep like that, coming after a prolonged period of no sleep, is that you seem more tired afterwards. So I went to sleep again, this time for three hours. It is the most marvelous way of covering distances without being aware!

In the afternoon the wind eased and then began to veer, thus heading us. Within an hour the strength had risen and the wind veered more so we were, at last, heading for the finish line at reasonable speed. 317 miles to the finish line as of now, but some changes in the wind yet to come so predictions of an ETA still unreliable.