Sir Robin Knox-Johnston rounds Cape Horn and is now under tow to Ushuaia

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston rounded Cape Horn in gale force winds yesterday afternoon and is now under tow down the Beagle Channel to Ushuaia, the southernmost port in Argentina, to make crucial repairs to SAGA – meaning that he will have to sit out a second 48-hour penalty. As with the last pit stop he hopes to be able to make up the time and catch the fleet in the remaining 7,000 miles of the Velux 5 Oceans race.

At 1030 yesterday morning Sir Robin enjoyed his first glimpse of land. “Land Ho! That is a headland. Diego Ramirez Isles at 13 miles and where they should be so the GPS is almost as good as a sextant! Cape Horn 65 miles to ENE. RKJ” Six hours later he rounded the Horn. “Yipeeee! 1626 GMT Sunday 18th February 2007, Cape Horn bearing north at 8.2 miles. Major Headland declared. Cut Aileen’s cake, delicious. Lit Sharpey’s large cigar. RKJ”

The latest contact with the UK team confirmed that Sir Robin has officially suspended racing and is en route to Ushuaia. “Engine started at 2146 in Posn 55 08.2S 066 28.6W Tow taken at 24:00 off Picton Island. RKJ” The tow to Ushuaia will take approximately 8-10 hours where SAGA will be met by shore crew Simon Clay, who will get to work on fixing several problems, not least the system that allows Sir Robin to download weather information and the issues with the mainsail. Both these repairs alone will ensure that this pit stop is an efficient one enabling Sir Robin to race more competitively in the remaining 7,000 Atlantic miles of the race. ” I don’t want to stop, I’m into a good routine, but have thought it through and this is the right move’, said Sir Robin, giving his rational as follows:-

1. ‘I cannot be competitive without weather information. Neither of my
satellite systems that would give me this is working. We can fix them with
the right spares we hope. This is the main reason for pulling in, bloody
electronics that don’t work.

2. ‘You only have to look at the way Koji has slowed as he hits the variables
to appreciate how vital this weather info is.

3.’I can get a new head car for the mainsail and fit it.

4.’I can get a new furler for the reachers.

5.’I can fix the ballast tank valve.

6. ‘I can try and find time for a haircut.

7. ‘I can try and get back to 3rd again with my systems working, there’s 7000
miles to go yet to Norfolk and I will be the hunter again.”

37 years ago, when Sir Robin rounded the Horn on the 17th January 1969, his log book read “Yippee!!!” Later he wrote, “We’ve passed it!!! Spliced the mainbrace and broke out Aunt Aileen’s fruitcake. I carefully removed the foil wrapping and the aroma hit me. The flavour and taste are even better than the smell. I’ve cut a reasonable slice, as I’ll make it last a bit if I can. It has withstood over seven months in its tin magnificently. To add to my pleasure there is a piece of The Times in the tin so I have something new to read as well.”

His now 100-year-old Aunt Aileen and 85-year-old sister Maureen made him another fruit cake and wrapped it in a page from The Times once again. When Aileen was asked if she worried about her young whipper-snapper of a nephew being at sea again, she answered “No! He said he was going to get it done, so I just expect him to get out there and get it done!”