Supplies run short as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston continues battle with battens and aboard Yacht Saga Insurance 21/12/06

Velux 5 Oceans Race
Log dateThursday 21 December 2006
PositionLatitude 43 02 South Longitude 097 56 East
Miles To Fremantle1,098 nm
Miles In 24 Hours208.9 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours8.7 knots

A little nearer Fremantle. But there is this high just to the west and north that is due to move up between us and Fremantle and will slow us right down, so the good westerly winds we have right now can be expected to slowly subside and we’ll be back to light winds where the lack of the mainsail really hurts.

The Australian met bureau gives one view of what is going to happen and Maxsea another. The Australians have a strong north-westerly airflow developing south of us tomorrow, which might affect things a little in our favour. Either way progress towards destination is likely to be slow as the choice of routes becomes limited by the need to aim for a specific point. I am beginning to feel like the Flying Dutchman, condemned to go on sailing the oceans forever.

The weather eased yesterday and I got some more sail set, but only to the second reef with the mainsail as there is another batten trapped there that I need to get out and fix. Somehow I managed to sprain my left wrist in the process of hoisting the sail. At midnight the wind veered and we gybed. The wind was right down by then and we were rolling nastily, the sails slatting. It was easier on the new course, which was north-east. The sky was quite clear at that time, but there was a glow in the east heralding another day, which means I shall alter my clocks again tonight another hour and become seven hours ahead of GMT.

Working on the lowest batten today. I don’t think people grasp what happens when a batten breaks and comes out of the middle of a sail – it catches on rigging! If it sticks out inwards it prevents the sail coming down, and if it sticks out outwards it prevents it going up. Sometimes it manages both through the same hole in the sail and that is like throwing five aces as you cannot hoist nor lower. Its thrown five aces at the moment!

Coffee finished today, butter getting low and although I have plenty of tea soon it will have to be without sugar. I thought I’d finish by the 10 December at the very latest so the shortages are not unexpected. I have enough basic meals though so am not going to starve, just get a little bored with the lack of variety. The thought of a large juicy steak is, well, just a delightful dream.