Robin Knox-Johnston struggles to find speed and direction in Velux 5 Oceans Race 17/11/06

Time and date 0900 Friday 17 November 2006
Miles to go to Fremantle7,987
Average speed in last 24 hours 8.11 knots
Distance travelled in last 24 hours 194.7
PositionLatitude 02 38S Longitude 029 35W
Course 200
Speed 8.5 kts
Wind SW x S Force 5-6.

“The equator crossed at last, 25 days after the start, which makes it something of an all time record for slowness! And to think we did it in under eight days on ENZA. However, I have never seen such a succession of contrary winds as we experienced this time and a sailing boat can only sail as well as the winds she receives allows. Still, we are beating into the SE Trade winds now of the South Atlantic, a bit fresher than one would want because although the wind is Force 5-6, it is the waves that force the boat to slow down as you will end up doing damage if you just smash into waves like this.

“So we could be going a bit faster, but there would be a price to pay sooner or later. I have the forward port ballast tank full as it helps to reduce the pounding. The leading group came through here with an easterly wind so they could reach southward, I am having to beat on a course of 200 degrees which is remorselessly pushing me towards the Brazilian coast. As we get south the wind should back however, but it’s just the poor getting poorer again.

“In my efforts to try and sort out the port auto-pilot, still not fixed, I have managed to lose the GPS link to the Nav display, so there’s a nice non sailing job for today!

“I decided on another pot mess last night. Sadly, the pork steaks, which were sealed and meant to last until mid December, had found the heat in the cabin too much and they were most definitely off. Its tins instead and only one more after this as I am out of tins and also have only one potato left. Its boil in the bag or freeze dried hereafter until Australia where first on the list will be an ice cold lager followed by one of those huge Aussie steaks so I can let my teeth chew on something for a change.”