Sir Robin Knox Johnston restarts Velux 5-Oceans Race in Fremantle 17/107

Having completed autopilot repairs and modifications to his weather softwear, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston left Fremantle last night and restarted racing in Leg 2 of the Velux 5-Oceans Race after the mandatory 48 hour in-port penalty period.

In an e-mail from the Open 60, Knox-Johnston outlined his immediate strategy: “I won’t be bashing at this stage, there is no point in getting any damage now, I can wait until the wind frees us and Saga Insurance can stretch her legs. We have lost 65 hours, but in a leg of 14,500 miles there is plenty of time to catch the others.”

Race leader Bernard Stamm on Cheminées Poujoulat has a 776 miles lead over Britain’s sailing veteran and Knox-Johnston has the Basque sailor, Unai Basurko on Pakea as his primary target: “Bernard Stamm is off and away, Koji is in hot pursuit, Unai seems to be taking things easily and he is my first objective,” he wrote last night.

Knox-Johnston is pragmatic about restarting at the back of the fleet, but is aware that isolation from the other boats is not an option in the brutal conditions ahead in Leg 2: “I am not worried about starting this far behind the others. There is a safety issue of course, where we are going there will be no other source of support except from another contestant, but 38 years ago no one even knew where I was for four and a half months, so with modern communications we can all be in touch.”

As Stamm heads south-east through the South Australian Basin recording the highest speeds in the fleet at 12.17 knots, he reported calm, slightly confusing conditions early this morning: “Today the wind has dropped and it is warm and a lot of sun. I’m going down wind to try to stay on the great circle. The weather is complicated ahead of us. I’m spending a lot of time to looking at the [weather] files.”
Japanese skipper, Kojiro Shiraishi and Spirit of Yukoh are shadowing the Swiss Open 60 159 miles to the north-west with Graham Dalton on Open 50 A Southern Man – AGD just 92 miles off Koji’s starboard quarter.

Overnight, Dalton suffered an injury: “Burnt my hand badly last night when I poured boiling water over it when making my diner and AGD lurched,” the Kiwi skipper reported this morning, “Got it bandaged up. Cleaned up the diesel but still leaking. Nasty depression moving south in a couple of days. Hope I can avoid it.”
In fourth position 90 miles south of Cape Leeuwin, Unai Basurko and Pakea trail Dalton by 204 miles and currently leads Knox-Johnston by 321 miles.