Lack of weather information continues to affect performance aboard Saga Insurance 29/1/07

Lack of weather information continues to affect performance aboard Saga Insurance. Here’s Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s latest log from the Velux 5 Oceans Race?

Log date Monday 29 January 2007
Position Lat 49 10S Long 164 13E
Miles to Norfolk, USA 11,651 nm
Distance in 24 Hours 218.2 nm
Average speed in 24 Hours 9.09

The Aussie weather text said strong south-west air stream almost on us, so got ready and what does the wind do? Goes south-east! I’m very much like a blindfolded man trying to box, I have no real idea of what wind is doing in detail which is so vital for racing Saga Insurance, so I am losing out in a big way on the others.

Spent yesterday sailing under jib when I ought to have had a reacher set so lost time there too, 20 miles on Unai. The south-easterly veered round to the south-west eventually and rose. They said the stream had eased to 25-30 knots but we recorded over 42 and it has been steady over 30 for a couple of hours. Breaking waves with spindrift. In these conditions I know I can do nothing else but run, and running goes east, so although it is uncomfortable, and a gale always contains an element of threat, this course is right for once.

Took all the mainsail down, thank goodness I had rigged a downhaul to the head. First time I have had all the main down in anger therefore a Headland! Left the Solent up for a while, but then that became too much and I set the storm jib and rolled the Solent, not easy in that amount of wind, and fortunately it is a tough sail. We need enough power to run these growing waves, but not too fast.

I’ve ballasted one of the aft tanks, which seems to help. Wet on deck and pretty urgent, definitely safety harness conditions.

Watching the barometer make a cautious rise, with the hatch almost closed to keep water and hail out – it would be lovely here but the noise of the wind through the rigging now exceeds the rushing noise of water past the hull. It is times like this you dream of a nice safe landlocked bedroom! Nothing to do now bit lie on the deck so I can’t be thrown down any further, and wait.

With such a well stocked cellar it could be a problem deciding which bottle to open next, but I have resolved that scientifically, I grab the first to come to hand. Cold again so donned second layer of Henri Lloyd clothing. The instant warmth was delightful. Can’t afford to catch a cold.

Pottered about yesterday. Removed the reacher furler, it is a dockyard repair job I’m afraid as it is totally jammed. Baled a few gallons from the sail-locker, sewed the mainsail nappy where it is most used, topped up the ready use diesel tank and such like. Tried the Fleet 77 but it still wont link.