5-Oceans competitor Robin Knox-Johnston gains speed just over 1,000 miles from finish 25/1/07

Log date Sunday 25 March 2007
Position Lat 24 18N Long 60 07W.
Miles To Norfolk, USA 1,176 nm
Distance In 24 Hours 164.2 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours 6.84 knots

The wind eased throughout yesterday afternoon so speed dropped away and the wind shift alarm worked overtime which drives me quite demented because you cannot ignore it, sleep though it, nor turn it off. We were down to less than 2 knots of boat speed for a while, but I rolled the reacher and re-set the jib, hardened up and got it up to 4 knots! However, cannot afford to lose mileage like that.

I blame myself because I was beginning to look forward to the squalls, bearing off, easing sheets and getting 18 or so knots for a short time. Saga Insurance has done so well and I am much more confident in her now. Squalls used to worry me, having found ourselves almost on her side and not responding to helm or sheets, but that has not happened for a while. In part because I can get to her in time, and have grown sensitive to the signals.

It’s just under four seconds from bunk to mainsheet winch, diving through the hatch, and if you don’t have oilies on well too bad, there isn’t time. These last few days have shown that she can take a lot more pressure than I thought, but she needs the wind to do it. She has done well in the calms as well, continuing to more forward, but with the wind instruments revolving through 360 degrees she cannot be expected to race away.

The calms were broken eventually when a big wind shift rain squall arrived about midnight UK time which lasted more than three hours and for a while we were forced off to due west whereas we had been sailing north. Still, nice to be moving and cool. After a small wind drop, it came up again so we have made some progress during the night. RKJ