Sir Robin Knox-Johnston re-starts Velux 5-Oceans Race but trails leader by over 900 miles as he heads south 18/1/07

On Monday, less than 24 hours into the second leg of the Velux 5-Oceans Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston had to turn back to Fremantle with further autopilot problems. He’s now back on the racecourse but is over 900 miles behind race leader Bernard Stamm. Here’s his first log after his re-start?

Log date Thursday 18 January 2007

I got away eventually, having waited the required 48 hours under the race rules, at 0915 on the morning of the 17 January, some 66 hours behind the others.

We were up early, cleared Customs at 0530 and then the Fremantle Sailing Club ribs took us round to the Commercial Docks where we had left Saga Insurance overnight as there was insufficient water to exit the sailing club until the afternoon. The crew left me shortly after clearing the harbour and we were alone again.

The wind was kind to start with, full plain sail and not a bad angle, but it rose in the afternoon and we were soon down to Solent and 3 reefed mainsail. Nevertheless we made good time down as far as Cape Naturaliste when the wind eased and became very variable in direction. The pilot was set to follow the wind so it was not too difficult to keep going. Now however, the wind is more from the south so we have equal tacks to get the remaining 50 miles to Cape Leeuwin which will take most of to-day.

I am tired at the moment. The stress of the damage to the outdrive and then having to turn back may not show much but it takes its toll. Last night was a mixed one, I did get one belt of sleep an hour long, and a few shorter ones, but my body needs more at the moment, but the Saga Insurance’s demands take priority.

The weather ahead does not look that encouraging either. It is not the strength of the wind but its direction that is going to make the next few days difficult as we head for the southern end of Tasmania. Still everything is working which makes a delightful change.

I felt considerable regret at leaving. Fremantle had been very hospitable and it is a nice place to visit. My support team has been terrific and I’ve grown to trust and depend on them so I’ll miss them, still all the more reason to hurry to Newport.