Sir Robin ponders weather, luck and fruit cake

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has been at sea a month racing his Open 60 Saga Insurance in the Velux 5 Oceans solo, two-stop, round the world race. Here is his latest report:

“The Velux5Oceans race started a month ago. It does not seem like it, and to have progressed only halfway down the South Atlantic is particularly disappointing. Still since crossing the equator, even if the wind has not done what it is usually expected to do and has obstinately stayed South East edging towards East, we have made better progress.

In part I think it was because the boats behind were catching up with a different weather system but once they got close enough they had to have the same general conditions or the weather prejudice would have shown, so I benefited by their closeness. It also gave me something to race against, since the rest of the fleet, benefiting by different weather conditions in the North Atlantic, have created a huge gap in front.

Not fair? Its impersonal so there’s no such thing as fairness and it can always happen the other way. That’s where luck plays its part in ocean racing, and sometimes it helps you and sometimes it doesn’t. It has not been kind to us so far but its early days, there’s plenty of time for it to see the error of its ways.

The weather has turned more trade winds like. Those puffy cotton wool type clouds, blue sea, warm wind and hot sun. The sun is too hot for the skin, and the wind feels so good it is easy to forget ones exposure. It’s becoming a little cooler. The air temperature reached 28 on deck today although it was still very hot in the cabin, but that is partially due to having to run the Volvo engine to charge the batteries. The laptop that runs these communications refused to log on for 2 hours due, I think, to the heat. As the cabin cooled it re-discovered its enthusiasm. Having baled and pumped out the sail locker, it did not rapidly re-fill. I also found the starboard ballast tank half full and as I did not fill it am trying to find out how that happened. I disconnected both autopilots from everything else and so far there has been no adverse reaction.

This morning the water in the sail locker has hardly risen, but during the night I awoke on the other tack with the autopilot saying standby. No idea what happened.

I opened Laurel Alan-Williams’ fruitcake yesterday evening. Absolutely delicious. It must be 1000 calories a slice and it is difficult not to take one’s entire daily input at a sitting. No, it must get me to Fremantle so rationing applies. RKJ”