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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 11:40 GMT
Life raft problem for yachtsman
Sir Robin Knox Johnston in Saga Insurance
Sir Robin will tackle Cape Horn during his 14,000-mile journey
Round-the-world yachtsman Sir Robin Knox Johnston has suffered another set back on the Velux 5 Oceans race.

The 67-year-old sailor from Ipplepen in Devon, currently 11,000 nautical miles off the US coast, has reported that one of his life rafts has broken free.

Sir Robin's race team said it was also hoping to sort out problems with the weather information software on board his yacht Saga Insurance.

Sir Robin is the oldest of the five competitors in the 14,000-mile race.

The Velux 5 Oceans race covers some of the world's most testing waters, including the infamous Cape Horn.

In 1969 Sir Robin became the first person to sail non-stop around the world alone.

Spokeswoman Sophy Williams said without the hi-tech weather software, the skipper did not have the luxury of planning ahead to avoid the frequent gales in the Southern Hemisphere.

It has meant Sir Robin has been unable to sleep properly as he needs to be particularly vigilant in watching the weather.

In his daily log, he said: "Not much sleep last night as Saga Insurance was being thrown about quite a lot - also it was very cold."

The sailor has suffered some other problems with his yacht recently.

He had to make repairs to the boat when a rope caught around its propeller the night before the second leg of the race from Australia to the US.

Sir Robin was then forced to return to Freemantle less than 24 hours later when Saga Insurance suffered autopilot problems and refused to restart.

The four other competitors in the single-handed race are Mike Golding, 46, from Hampshire; Graham Dalton, 53, from New Zealand; Alex Thomson, 32, from Portsmouth and the 42-year-old defending champion Bernard Stamm from Saint Pabu in France.


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