Closing the gap, but still struggling with satcom, and now furler problems

Yacht Saga Insurance
Tuesday 23rd January 2007
Latitude 46 00S Longitude 132 25E
Miles To Norfolk, USA: 12,097 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours: 11.4 knots
Distance In 24 Hours: 273.6 nm

With 2,403 nautical miles already under his belt, Sir Robin Knox Johnston is now only 7 miles behind Unai Basurko. Sir Robin originally started 250 miles behind
Unai just under a week ago. For the last 24 hours Sir Robin has been sailing at a consistently higher speed than both Unai and Graham Dalton; the latter now 504 nm ahead of him.

“A bouncy night, large swell and breaking seas with occasional rain and wind
squalls. This morning I went to unravel the broken furler line but found the furler itself damaged. Its central disc has been bent, torn out and is now jammed. This means no reachers for the rest of the voyage I’m afraid as there is no way I can get one down on my own, they are just too large. This is a big loss to performance. It means I am a bit more conservative, not being certain what weather is coming I leave setting more sail until I am sure the wind has eased whereas before I had that information. I do have a couple of spinnakers I can set but not to-day thank you! It will have happened when I was struggling to get the medium reacher down the other night but how I don’t know.”

“Frequent attempts to get the Fleet 77 satellite system up and resulted in much groaning from the dome and a message about the motor, which I can believe. I doubt we can get this working before Norfolk and I am certainly not trying to take the dome off to look at it down here. We know the antenna to the new Iridium works as it is working with my spare, but I cannot connect that up to get the weather so am now dependant on the Australian text maritime forecasts which have nothing like the detail of the info I did have. I am marginally better off than I was 38 years ago, at least I have the Aussie forecasts now. Then, all I could do was tune in to local radio stations and hope they would mention the weather and it was
pertinent to me. But this boat is a far more lively girl than Suhaili and nothing like so forgiving, so strong gusts can bring her up into the wind and onto her side all too easily especially if overpressed by too much sail which means less rest and greater alertness. The stress would get to me but for the cellar!”

“Otherwise all well. It is so annoying that after all the hard work by Simon Clay and the team to get the boat race ready we are being frustrated by electronic failures yet again. The tendonitis wrist seems to be recovering from its exertions the other night with the reacher and I protect it as much as possible. It is a safety thing, I need it to be able to hold my weight with it which it can do again now. RKJ.”