Sir Robin and Saga enjoy 'Navy Day' with HMS Edinburgh

Yacht Saga Insurance
Friday 23rd February 2007.
Lat 50 50S Long 57 46 W
Miles To Norfolk, USA: 6,466
Distance In 24 Hours: 185.1
Average Speed In 24 Hours: 7.71 knots

SAGA INSURANCE has sailed passed Port Stanley where Graham Dalton sits out
his 48 hour penalty, moving Sir Robin back into 4th place with a 45 mile lead this morning. Sir Robin is now just 372 miles behind 3rd placed Unai Basurko having already gained 128 miles since re-starting the race near Ushuaia. Unai Basurko is struggling with northerly headwinds and averaged only 1.2 knots in the last few hours of the Velux 5 Oceans race. Sir Robin is also being affected by the light winds, which are forecast for some time. The typical Atlantic snakes and ladders game begins.

“I had a terrific day, most of it anyway. Firstly SAGA INSURANCE averaged over 11 knots for the 24 hours, not our best days run but satisfying. Then I had my own Navy Day. I was within 10 miles of Sea Lion Island, off the southeastern corner of the Falklands when HMS Edinburgh came over and launched a RIB and her helicopter. I have always thought the batch 3 type 42 Destroyers were good looking and she looked magnificent. After a session of photo taking, spoilt for me because my still camera decided this was the moment to run out of battery power, she came past to leeward opening up. It was a nice example of professionalism. Cdr Scott Verney RN and the ships company are to be congratulated.”

“He kindly offered to send over a bottle of whisky but cognisant of our strict race committee, and that someone might protest as it would have been good for my morale, which it certainly would have been, I had to decline, but he says he’ll keep it in his cabin until we meet again, now there is an Officer and a Gentleman! They certainly brightened my day. They are probably the last people I will see for a month.”

“Next it was warm and sunny, for the first time in 5 weeks. During the afternoon I became aware of a nasty vibration. I traced it by putting my ear to the hull and quickly discovered it was from the port rudder. Looking over the transom I could see why. We had picked up a large mass of kelp seaweed. I put on my harness and went over to see if I could shift it but to no avail. It worried me, I did not like the noises the rudder was making, so without any other means of getting rid of it I rolled the headsail, put the main right out, and luffed up into the wind. As we lost way I hoped we might shift it and that is what happened, to my enormous relief. Whilst this was going on Jon Selby lead me through the new weather systems on the new Iridium phone. Why the other new one never worked we will probably never discover, but its nice to have one working well.”

“At 2210 GMT I was 20 miles east of Port Stanley in the Falklands. I could see the high ground around the town but was too far out to see any detail. I am sorry we could not make our stop there but the once a week flights make it impracticable and I would have lost time, but its on my list of places to visit sometime.”

“To celebrate I made one of the best Pot Messes I have ever produced. The secret is bacon. It acts as a catalyst in a stew. I got some in Ushuaia and part of that stock went into the stew. It was delicious, and very nourishing. A nice sunset, a new moon slowly descending, and a glass of wine in the cockpit and then a good stew, what more could one ask for? Well, wind, because it died on us soon afterwards and we have been hardly moving since. Looking ahead it is a bit of a hotch potch, mainly light, which will turn the race into a bit of a lottery for a while as some get a good patch for a while that misses others. These are the well named variables and one could still be in them in a weeks time, or get lucky, but at least now, thanks to the stop in Ushuaia, I have some idea as to where the wind is within this zone, its just a question of getting to it. RKJ”