Knox-Johnston is firing along, gaining on the leaders but running out of whisky - he reports 28/11/06

Time and dateTuesday 28 November 2006
PositionLatitude 38 02S Longitude 012 07W
Miles to Fremantle5,740nm
Average speed in 24 hours10.54 knots

Yesterday was wet and miserable. The wind was strong in the morning, but eased later leaving a nasty slop and the only way to deal with that is to power up. There were a couple of cockpit floods as waves came inboard but no harm done. Then the wind came up during the night and I had to change down from Jib to Solent and take in the second reef. We were still getting long surfs of about 18-20 knots, which sounds alarming down below where the noise is greatly magnified. I don’t want to over push but I am unsure where that point is. This race is about keeping going as much as anything. If you break something important you can be out of the race or losing time. With the examples of Alex and Mike so recent, and those two knew their boats well and had plenty of experience, it just makes one a little cautious.

Nevertheless, these last few hours have seen us take distance out of Stamm and Kojiro for the first time in weeks, but they are in different weather conditions. We passed due south of Tristran da Cunha Island just before 0800 this morning, but it was 55 miles away so no chance of a sighting. This is the fourth time I have been passed and never seen the island.

Now we are into cooler conditions and there is a lot of rain about – it is amazing how quickly everything feels damp, but it is still too warm to put on the heater which would dry things out, so damp things will remain for the time being.

The biggest event was the consumption of the last of the whisky. It has taken four and a half weeks to consume four bottles, which seems pretty abstemious! I had not allowed for medicinal usage and when it came to cleaning and dressing the toe I decided the manoeuvre deserved a tot! Well three tots in fact. But it seemed silly to leave just a small sensation in the bottom of the bottle and it would have been a great tragedy if the cork had come out and spilt it, so better to drink it and avoid the potential disaster.

The toe seems fine although a little more sensitive, probably because the nerves are sorting themselves out. Its heavily Salvon’ed, inside a sock inside a boot so quite well protected for the moment and not causing me any trouble and I have not needed pain killers or anything else..

Got a nice message from Alex Thomson aboard Ecover. He sounded fine despite losing his boat, which must have been awful.