'I've had better days', says Saga's tired skipper

Yacht Saga Insurance
Sunday 22nd April 2007
Latitude 38 03N Longitude 061 46 W
Miles To Bilbao: 2,620 nm

‘I am getting very tired of headwinds and lumpy seas. We have had them solidly since the start in Norfolk and now they are going to push me to within 200 miles of Halifax Nova Scotia. The alternative is south east which won’t help on the basis of current predictions. I have at last received the positions of the others after a 24 hour silence and Bernard and Kojiro are over to the east and have northerlies so can make easting, Unai has light northerlies due to become North Westerlies, and I have North Easterlies. Beating into the wind is Saga’s weak point so I have not been able to keep up with the leaders and time will tell whether the more northern route will favour me more than Unai, but it won’t show for a few days if it does. To start with I will drop back on the others. That is all based on the latest weather file but they are changing so much with each update it is clear there is some confusion back on the computer model so it could all change in 6 hours and I could find what it is recommending now is a disaster.

‘So another day spent with my home leaning over at 20 to 25 degrees and moving from handhold to handhold and bracing against the heavy bangs when she hits a wave. The good thing about the starboard tack is that there is no leaking in the sail locker so the sooner we find the South Westerlies the better..

‘At about midnight the wind backed to north and SAGA tacked herself. It took a while in the light winds and still heavy swell to get her sorted and in the course of it the runner block swung in and caught me a cracker on the head. The bleeding was very slight but the egg size bruise is impressive but will probably be down by morning.

‘However when this operation was complete the NKE steering ram would not connect, or so I thought. I switched on the other one, which took over and went to investigate. A part has blown on the NKE ram and the whole steering flat was like an ice rink with hydraulic fluid. No way I can fix that so now we are down to the Raymarine pilot to see us home.

‘Felt very tired after last night’s regular baling sessions so glad of the respite although I only got a few short dozes. I have had better days. RKJ’

Photo: The depleted Velux fleet leaving Norfolk. Credit: OnEdition