Knox-Johnston is frustrated by the lack of weather information as Saga Insurance loses miles 1/2/07

Log dateThursday 1 February 2007
PositionLat 48 58S Long 178 15E
Miles To Norfolk, USA11,105 nm
Distance In 24 Hours177 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours7.11 knots

A frustrating night as it went light and variable for four hours and Saga Insurance nowhere in persistent cold rain. I thought the others might be similarly affected but not so. Despite being close, both have taken quite a chunk on us. They have the detailed weather, I don’t, and those miles are the difference between missing one of these little patches and not.

This game has changed. There is much more emphasis on technology and what it can provide and you are now as good as your technical support or have sufficient electronic knowledge to understand how this stuff works. With neither system available for downloading weather, I am having to play catch up when conditions permit but am unable to choose the best tactical solution, or take action to avoid calms like to-day and will lose out whenever the weather becomes light and fluky. I ought to be out sailing them, not this.

Noon to noon, 177 miles, the worst day’s run this leg. Spent some time working on technology, when I ought to have been working out how to set a reacher without its furler, without which, in these light conditions, I cannot head far downwind as I need – more time is lost. The poor get poorer! I know there is a big system behind and coming this way, it’s as if the wind has been sucked in by a gigantic bellows from here to boost the wind that’s coming.

Sadly the lost miles last night means I shall be last across the date line, not an honourable position. I am hoping to stay close to the boats in front to keep in vaguely the same weather systems, but they know where these calms are smallest, I don’t. Also both are sailing much better this leg and that’s not just down to them having better weather info. I had closed to within 15 minutes of longitude behind AGD (Graham Dalton) last night but during the night he put that up to 60 minutes.

On a different note, passed a seal lolling on the surface about ten metres away. It did not appear to notice us at all. Caught up with a couple of hours sleep this afternoon, then got ready for the bad weather, made water, topped up the engine day tank, etc.