Robin Knox-Johnston agonizes over failed batten repairs on Velux 5 Oceans Race 14/11/06

Position at 0830Latitude 4 23N Longitude 026 16W – Course 185
Speed 4.5 kts
Miles to Fremantle 8653
Average speed in last 24 hours 6.19
Distance travelled in last 24 hours 148.6

Well all yesterday’s work trying to repair battens was for nought. In one of those heavy wind and rain squalls at 0130 this morning I reefed the mainsail and whilst I was hauling the clew in, every single one of the repaired battens broke again. The internal splint I used just broke. So back to square one on this and in the meantime we are drifting slowly in the right direction but we are lacking power. I have another idea I’ll try as soon as it gets light this morning. This drifting around in a race is driving me up the wall, so I need to get something sorted and get moving properly again.

The port autopilot has definitely gone senile. In a calm patch I switched over to it but all it could do was flash its screen on and off and squeak. No message at all. That is beyond me.

Dolphins swimming with us last night. Could not see them as it was so dark, but I could hear them. These squalls give warning by heavy black cloud. If they have rain then they have strong winds, and that means gusting 30 knots or more. The rain is freezing which is quite nice actually.

That’s it, back to the workshop (after a nice cup of tea!).