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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Knox-Johnston reveals storm drama
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
Knox-Johnston is due to arrive in La Coruna on Thursday
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has described the dramatic storm which forced him to return to port just over a day into the Velux 5 Oceans race.

The 67-year-old legendary yachtsman rolled his Saga Insurance vessel 360 degrees in winds of more than 70 knots during a storm in the Bay of Biscay.

"The waves are watery Himalayas, it is as bad as anything you would see in the Southern Ocean," he said.

"The wind sounds like the BBC sound effects for a storm in Antarctica."

Knox-Johnston, who became the first person to sail single-handed non-stop around the globe in 1969, is now heading to La Coruna in Spain and is due to arrive on Thursday.

His boat will undergo repairs which will take at least 24 hours to complete.

The race started in Bilbao on Sunday but the storm, described as "boat breaking", caused massive problems for the six competitors.

It forced Knox-Johnston to join Mike Golding, Alex Thomson, Unai Basurko in returning to harbour.

"The waves were probably about 40 feet between trough and crest," added Knox-Johnston.

On a scale of one to 10, it was an 11 - it was horrific

Hugo Boss skipper Alex Thomson

"All of the crests are breaking, the wind is so strong it is blowing a spindrift across the top of the ocean.

"Everything around me is white, you dare not look into it as you would be blinded.

"The boat is otherwise fine and just needs the chance to show herself, she has been riding the waves beautifully - an absolute dream.

"She's really good, it is just a bit uncomfortable for the human inside her.

"There is no point in trying to race in these conditions, it is better to just keep the boat and crew comfortable until the seas subside.

"We will race again when conditions permit."

Only Japan's Koji Shiraishi and defending champion Bernard Stamm from Switzerland are currently racing.

And Thomson, on board Hugo Boss, added: "On a scale of one to 10, it was an 11 - it was horrific.

"My thoughts are with the others who still out there. I am obviously disappointed but I have no other option than to suspend racing in order to carry out the necessary repair."



SEE ALSO
New challenge for sailing legend
22 Sep 06 |  Hampshire


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