Knox-Johnston battles through squalls but keeps focused on keeping ahead of Basurko 30/4/07

DateMonday 30 April 2007
PositionLatitude 44 47 North Longitude 020 24 West
Miles To Bilbao:754 nm
Distance In 24 Hours:254.8 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours:10.62 knots

Over the course of the weekend Robin Knox-Johnston faced 30 knot wind squalls surfing at 24 knots of speed. Trying to keep ahead of Unai Basurko, Sir Robin has been receiving confused reports of his position, which is making it difficult for Knox-Johnston to understand his own position. But according to latest reports he currently sits at 311 miles ahead of Basurko holding third position. On another note – Sir Robin cast a ‘top secret’ message in a bottle out to sea yesterday in an Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky bottle, which the currents are expected to carry towards Europe?

Unai (Basurko) was roughly 280 miles further from the finish last night, so there is still a very small chance of getting in ahead of him by 41 hours but it will need some luck with the weather, and that could go either way of course. He has lost his Sat C as well as his trackers, apparently, so I am not the only one who gets these electronic problems. Race HQ are due to speak to him later this morning when we will get an update on how he is getting on.

Heavy blow yesterday morning, with sail right down to avoid ploughing the bow under too often, to light winds now. But more wind is on its way, this time from the south initially, but then veering round to the west, not expected to exceed Force 5. It is westerly at the moment and very light so we are losing time right now Saga Insurance’s ETA is now dependant to what happens to a low forming off Finistère on the 2nd May and its a bit too early to know what to make of it except it could produce strong easterly winds along the north Spanish coast, right in our face.

Spent the day plugging slowly eastwards, no excitement yet at the thought of the finish, there’s interesting weather and traffic zones to negotiate before Bilbao comes in sight. Best indication of an ETA is Thursday 3 May sometime.

Bernard (Stamm) should finish today, by coming the third person to have won this race twice. It has been a performance marked by good preparation and few errors coupled with single-minded determination. Bernard has to be one of the most experienced Open 60 skippers around now. Kojiro has been closing in at the end, only 80 miles astern at the last poll, which is remarkable. This is Koji’s second participation, last time he did it in a 40 footer, this time with a second hand 60 footer, but again well prepared. He is the third Japanese to complete the event after Yukoh Tada and Minouru Saito.