Velux 5-Ocean Race competitor Robin Knox-Johnston is back on the racecourse. Here's his latest log 21/2/07

Log dateWednesday 21 February 2007
PositionLat 55 09S Long 66 16W
Miles To Norfolk, USA6,869 nm
Distance In 24 Hours41.1 nm

Velux 5-Ocean race competitor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston departed from Ushuaia yesterday afternoon following a successful stopover to carry out repairs to his Open 60 Saga Insurance. He has spent the night battling his way down the Beagle Channel but he’ll soon be back on the racecourse heading north up the Atlantic. Here’s his latest log?

If stress is meant to be good for you then the Beagle Channel to Ushuaia must be very good for one, but I could have done without it. Sunday evening was a beat into an increasing narrow channel with winds gusting 35 and steady for long periods on 33 knots and steep, nasty seas. I was not sure we were going to make it, but a slight freeing of the wind for 30 minutes gave us a safe angle in the end.

The towboat was waiting for me off Picton Island but rightly said they could not put a line aboard Saga Insurance until we had calmer waters. Then we lost contact and it was only halfway along the island that they found me and escorted us to a small area where there was a lee. Jonathon Selby and Alex came over in a RIB bringing the tow line and once it was secured stayed with me for the five-hour tow.

After a harrowing eight hours I suddenly felt very tired now the situation was under control. Mooring up in Ushuaia was another nightmare, it seems to blow a gale or go very calm and we had the former but eventually got tied up with minimal loss of skin.

Simon Clay had been delayed as his baggage got left in Madrid but arrived in time to help moor up. We went ashore, had a light breakfast with Tony and Wendy Mowbay on their yacht and then set about fixing things.

The new masthead car was fitted quickly and the problem with the fleet 77 fixed. Jonathon took away my laptop which had hardware problems and on Tuesday set up the new Iridium phone.

Then it was time to leave, after Roxanne Selby had kindly shopped for me, in gusts of 30 knots again. Solo sailing the Beagle Channel is not to be recommended, but the scenery is spectacular. It narrows to less than a mile in places and the wind gusts through, although there are calmer patches. I would not willingly do the passage again except in a boat with a powerful motor and good crew. It took longer than intended and I have lost some extra hours as I did not get to the point where I started to motor until 0524 GMT but it will be a huge relief to get Saga Insurance into open water.

I am underpowered at the moment as the lazyjacks are the wrong side of the mainsail and I need daylight to sort it so I can only put up the 4th reef. There’s 35 knots of wind and the seas are lumpy. I’ll start catching up on the 70 e-mails that accumulated whilst the Fleet system was down once I get clear of Staten Island.