It's an upwind slog for Knox-Johnston in the final leg of the Velux 5 Oceans 2/5/07

DateWednesday 2 May 2007
PositionLatitude 45 45 North Longitude 10 26 West
Miles To Bilbao356 nm
Distance In 24 Hours207.6 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours8.65 knots

We will have been racing for two weeks at 1630 this afternoon and I’ll still have more than 300 miles to go on Saga Insurance. 3,200 covered in a straight line, which, of course, it has not been possible to sail. Headwinds seem to have sought me out right from the start of this race and they cannot be accused of losing consistency. The wind turned against us yesterday and we have been beating ever since, being pushed north of Finisterre and well into the Bay of Biscay.

Meanwhile Unai (Basurko) was running before strong winds about 300 miles behind but closing quite quickly of course. The wind is due to go round to the north later today, but not close to the coast where it will remain more easterly for a while longer, so I don’t want to tack too early. The galling thing is that by the time Unai reaches Finisterre the winds along the coast will have gone northerly so he’ll have a lovely fast reach along the coast. It’s frustrating to know that having been 9 degrees of longitude behind him at one stage, then built up almost 7 degrees of longitude lead, the wind is now favouring him for the last sprint, but that’s ocean racing.

I just hope the weather information I am receiving has got it right this time. Sadly, and yet again, the other system packed up 10 days ago so I cannot cross check it. It worries me that they have been quite a lot out with the wind strengths recent.

Saw a yacht the other night, heading towards the British Isles. I did not think he had seen me until he did a quick flick with his radar, which my active echo picked up. Of course I cannot carry a masthead light as my mast rotates, but I gave him a flick of the masthead beacon so he knew I had seen him. Saw one ship yesterday, but will run into the main Ushant to Finisterre channel this evening, which keeps one on deck.

Had a good water making session. I still had a couple of litres left before I would have needed to go to the reserves, we each have to carry ten gallons of fresh water as a reserve. Normally I consume about a litre a day, but decided to top up a bit just in case, so now have seven litres in hand.

Been up most of the night with stomach ache, think due to dried apricots which I was taking for energy. I am not sure I am completely suited to a vegetarian diet. Best indication of an ETA, if the weather forecast is right, is now Friday morning.