Sat comms problems and no weather data aboard Saga

Yacht Saga Insurance
Monday 22nd January 2007
Latitude 43 48 S Longitude 12749E
Miles To Norfolk, USA: 12,370 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours: 9.95
Distance Covered In 24 Hours: 238.8 nm
Miles To Nearest Competitor (Unai Basurko) : 66 nm

As in 1969 Sir Robin Knox Johnston is once again sailing without weather information but it does not seem to be affecting his miles to the finish. Upon re-starting Leg 2 of the Velux 5 Oceans race, Sir Robin was 250 miles behind his nearest competitor (Unai Basurko), but 6 days later SAGA INSURANCE has made good ground, and is now just 66 nautical miles behind. This will be a reassuring factor as he sails south into the deepest, darkest Southern Ocean. Despite enjoying reasonable speeds in the first 6 days, once again Sir Robin has been having a torrid time with his communications equipment. Despite having new equipment installed in Fremantle, his satellite phones have been jamming and reading infuriating statements such as “Azm err”. Experts are looking into this and able to email instructions and advice to the boat, so full communications will hopefully return in a couple of days. Race organisers’ watch keepers are keeping a close eye on SAGA’s position and will email the whole fleet if there is any big storms expected.

“With all comms down except Sat C, VHF, and now my mobile Iridium is up, patched into the antenna of the new one that doesn’t get a signal. Worse, I am blind as far as weather is concerned which is dangerous down here. Don’ t tempt me to go into electronics, but a new Fleet 77 system and new Iridium system, both installed by the experts, and neither working, is moderately infuriating. I am the one suffering and I am the one put at risk.. ”

“Kept heading just east of south yesterday to get down to the westerlies. The front came through in the early hours of this morning and SAGA has been able to bear away. The wind rose yesterday evening and I decided to take in the new medium reacher. The furling line jammed in the jammer and stuck the sail half furled with the wind rising and then took 3 turns round the forestay. It took 3.5 hours to sort that out by which time it was dark but the sails seem OK. I do not like those continuous line furlers. I have been wasting time on the comms but I’ll get round to re-splicing the furling line when the wind eases. Going to the bow at the moment is a waist high awash job. I won’t be able to use the medium reacher again anyway until I can hoist it on a calm day and sort it out. RKJ”

Picture: Wolf Marloh