Robin Knox-Johnston taunted by light winds in Velux 5-Oceans Race 7/3/07
Log date Wednesday 7 March 2007
Log position Lat 26 50S Long 37 57W
Miles To Norfolk, USA 4,752 nm (15:08 GMT)
Distance In 24 Hours 107.8 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours 4.49 knots
Happy Birthday to my daughter Sara. Just 10 days until my 68th! Another frustrating day of light winds that will allow Saga Insurance east or north-west. We are still trying to break out of this system and the trades are getting so close at times its almost as if they are taunting me. Still, as the moon came up in an almost cloudless sky, just distant cumulus, we were heading north over a rippled sea, not very fast at that time, and it almost made you forget this was a race, perfect sailing conditions for a quiet cruise!”
So we inched north, only time will tell whether we have made enough to get clear. The grib weather files say not, but they did not predict an easterly last night either, so fingers crossed. Either way, racing or cruising, this was the time for a plastic mug of wine as I sat on a cushion in the cockpit where I was trying to sleep, as it was lovely and cool. It was a great idea that didn’t work, too many interruptions, particularly the off-course alarm which registers if we change course by more than 15 degrees, which of course, in light conditions, is happening nearly every couple of minutes.
The problem with the variables is that you cannot make progress unless you get the right wind shift, so you feel helpless. Racing is not in your hands, you can be as aggressive as you want but if the wind’s from the wrong direction it won’t make any difference.
Spent a good part of yesterday on computers again. My navigation computer is now so jerky and loses things almost if you look at it that I downloaded everything of value onto the IBM Think Pad, which has survived the ardours of the voyage far much more robustly. It’s not an easy operating environment, being at an angle the whole time and then subject to sharp shocks when the boat pounds, in fact they have put up with everything but water over them. Some can take it, some cannot.
With the sun’s rays now so sharp, and the cabin uninhabitable during most of the day, especially after the engine has been charging, I have taken to working round the boat moving between shadow patches to try and keep cool between dashes below for a check. All chores need to be done early whilst it is still cool. This brings me to discovering numerous corpses of flying fish, again all very small, hidden away wherever they have jammed. Interestingly no squid yet, the other usual casualty. Very little bird life either, but the good news is that there is very little rubbish to be seen, nothing like as much as would have been around 40 years ago so we humans can improve things if we set our minds to it.