Robin Knox-Johnston is suffering with yet more communication problems aboard Yacht Saga Insurance 21/1/07

Velux 5-Oceans Race competitor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is suffering with yet more communication problems aboard Yacht Saga Insurance just a few days after Leg 2 start from Fremantle.

Log date Saturday 20 January 2007
Position Latitude 37 47.5S Longitude 120 24 E

Yesterday was a day of light winds and minor squalls. The trouble with those sort of conditions is that you can never have the sail settings right. If you reduce sail for the squalls you sit looping about when its gone, but if you have too much sail in the light winds the squalls push Saga Insurance over to 45 degrees or more. The result was not great progress.

I am also hampered by the fact that the new Iridium phone has switched itself to internal use only so cannot make outgoing calls. This means I cannot update the weather and I’m having to use, now, a two-day old forecast. Under that forecast I expected to be headed last night but in fact it never happened so I could have borne away and gone faster instead of keeping hard on the wind.

Why doesn’t the Iridium phone work now when it worked fine when installed and initially after I left? Don’t ask me, just accept it as another example of the electronics industry. Imagine what would happen if washing machines failed on the same scale as these electronics I have do? The whole washing machine industry would collapse and something would be done about it. So anyway, the electronics industry has left me weather blind and not for the first time.

Now I have freed off a bit hopefully I can stop losing out to the leading pack. Unai Pakea, the next one ahead, has been caught close to a new low pressure system and is being forced north by strong southerly winds which is appalling bad luck. He was slow at the start and so missed the window of opportunity to get south quickly whereas my delay, although it has led to headwinds until this morning, means I have missed that system. It may take time to get himself clear of that but we don’t want him too far away as we can provide mutual support if necessary.

The flying Swiss, Bernard Stamm, has gone deep and picked up a good strong north-westerly as has Kojiro not far behind, so they will extend their lead for a while. Dalton is 580 miles ahead of me at the moment. I am heading east-south-east at the moment as that?s where I can get the best speed, the wind still being south of South-West but I am hoping it will veer and allow me to go deeper before long.

It is becoming colder. The shorts have been packed away and the first layer of thermals donned. The sun is still warm though. Banged the left wrist this morning. Not clever. The tendonitis is still there so it is not up to full ability as yet. Otherwise, well I feel a bit tired to be honest. These electronic problems are depressing as well. I keep imagining I have crew aboard when I wake up from a sleep. Most odd but a sign that I am still settling in.