'I'm seriously worried about my mental state', says Saga's skipper

Yacht Saga Insurance
Friday 27th April 2007
Latitude 43 40 North Longitude 038 51.4 West
Miles To Bilbao: 1,557 nm
Distance In 24 Hours: 274 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours: 11.41

‘The wind went light on me yesterday, but having got east of Unai at last, we have pressed on as hard as possible. He is still some 9 degrees south of Saga, which means he must sail 50 miles to cover one degree of Longitude at his Latitude, whereas I need only sail 44 miles to achieve the same degree of longitude. We are now 320 miles closer to the finish line than he is, about 130 miles short of what I consider safe. Thus in three days we have taken 12 degrees of Longitude out of him so from that point of view the decision to head north 5 days ago has paid off even if it cost me some 350 miles on Bernard and Kojiro. It is Unai though, that I need to
keep focused upon.

‘I thought things were getting back to normal yesterday morning. The Iridium phone packed up a couple of days ago, that’s the new one fitted in Ushuaia, which replaced a new one fitted in Fremantle. Then we had lost one of the weather files, which wouldn’t connect to its shore-based computer, and finally yesterday morning the other weather file stopped connecting as well. I was almost back to where I had been in the Southern Ocean, however Tom Cecil called on the Fleet system, which is still functioning, and sorted it out so I still have one weather system operating.

‘Going through a zone of squalls, we have been wiped out once over night, too much sail up, well its still up, but the wind is backing and veering all over the place around west which means its been a night of gybes as the wind is basically from the west, sometimes 28 knots, sometimes 8 knots. Hard to make good progress in these situations. I think it has steadied a bit now so once this is away I’ll get my head down for a while. In any case I am seriously worried about my mental state. After she pulled out of the wipe out, the autopilot holding robustly throughout, I found myself patting the boat and saying “Well done Saga” out aloud which is thoroughly dangerous. Once you start speaking to yourself you are on the slippery path although I suppose I could say I was talking to the boat!’ RKJ