Sir Robin Knox-Johnston mulls the tussle between race leaders

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has become a spectator in his own race! The 67-year-old finds the ‘real race’ between the Velux 5 Oceans’ leaders fascinating as he nurses Saga Insurance along:

“Its been a long day and night. The dark clouds, which always indicate something coming up, like changes in wind direction and force, made their appearance yesterday afternoon and then continued throughout the night. The wind can shift 50-60 degrees beneath these clouds and the wind rise from 8 to 22 knots, so you have to be ready to deal with them or the boat can be tacked or thrown on her side by the sudden increase in strength, especially when you have a lot of sail up, as now.

So sleep was in small snatches. But the wind did come round eventually to the North East and it has continued to back, close to north at the moment. I appear to have lost a bit on the two boats behind overnight, not surprising if they missed this weather, and if they had the same, well, they handled it better than me.

The front of the race is livening up. Bernard Stamm seems to have slowed and Alex and Mike are neck and neck with each other and closing in on Bernard. There’s a real race going on there, which is fascinating to watch.

Its becoming cooler. The maximum temperature on deck yesterday was 25 C and last night I slept beneath a sleeping bag for the first time since Corunna. The sky is so much clearer in the Southern Hemisphere so the stars are much brighter at night. Because of the noise made by the boat you cannot hear the silence, but I remember on Suhaili, north of the Falkland Islands, lying on deck and hearing absolutely nothing for almost 20 minutes, not even the slap of a wavelet against the hull. It was eerie. There is always a background buzz in the Northern Hemisphere where I have been although I cannot speak for the North Pacific.

I ate the last of the Spanish cut loaf yesterday. Quite remarkable how well that lasted and no mould whatsoever. Also the last potato went and the last of my tinned food, bar one of corned beef. So fresh food left now consists of onions, oranges and apples, the latter becoming a bit soft.”