Fedor Konyukhov
enru
30.01.2012

Fedor Konyukhov is planning his second ascent of Mt. Everest in May 2012

This year is an anniversary year for the country’s mountaineering:  it’s been 30 years since the successful ascent of Mt. Everest by the USSR team (May 1982), and it’s been 20 years since the first Russian expedition to the top of Mt. Everest (May 1992).  Fedor Konyukhov was a member of the latter expedition that consisted of four Russian mountain climbers.  Paired with Eugeny Vinogradsky (Yekaterinburg), he ascended to the top of the world on May 14th at 13:15 Katmandu time. Twenty years later, Fedor is planning to repeat the ascent of Mt

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This year is an anniversary year for the country’s mountaineering:  it’s been 30 years since the successful ascent of Mt. Everest by the USSR team (May 1982), and it’s been 20 years since the first Russian expedition to the top of Mt. Everest (May 1992).  Fedor Konyukhov was a member of the latter expedition that consisted of four Russian mountain climbers.  Paired with Eugeny Vinogradsky (Yekaterinburg), he ascended to the top of the world on May 14th at 13:15 Katmandu time.

Twenty years later, Fedor is planning to repeat the ascent of Mt. Everest, but this time, climbing the North Side, where the climb leaves from Tibet.  As a partner for this expedition, Fedor Konyukhov has chosen “7 Summits Club”, the International Alpine Club that specializes in arrangements of all the necessary steps for the ascent of the eight-thousanders. (http://www.7summits.ru/)

Fedor Konyukhov: “I turned 60 last December.  It’s a good point in life to stop and reflect on all that has been accomplished  in life including reaching  the North Pole, Mt. Everest, and sailing around the Cape Horn.  It’s been 20 years since my last expedition to the top of Mt. Everest with the “AVTOVAZ” team.  I would like to try the ascent one more time and, God willing, to place a small Orthodox cross on top of the summit. (Author’s note: Fedor Konyukhov was ordained as a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church in December of 2010).

Alexandr Abramov is a professional mountaineer and President of the “7 Summits Club”.   In the 1990s, he and I were working simultaneously on our goals of achieving The Seven Summits program, which consists of climbing the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.  There are many organizations that specialize in this kind of mountaineering, but I would like to work with this Russian company, given the fact that “7 Summits Club” is one of the leaders in this area of expertise.  In addition, there will be a large group of us, including a few of my friends, who will stay at the base camp.  I want them to see the beauty of the Himalayas and Mt. Everest and to experience the spirituality of that place.”  

Alexander Abramov: “Nowadays the process of putting together an expedition to summit Mt. Everest is different than back in 1992.  After all, it’s been 20 years, but Mt. Everest remains Mt. Everest and no one can guarantee a successful ascent of the 8850 meters.  We will have one guide per five climbers.  Each climber is accompanied by a Sherpa.  We provide six oxygen tanks of system “Poisk” per person.  Our medical person works with us until the North Side.  There are four fully established base camps at the 5100m, 5800m, 6400m, and 7000m as well as 2 fully equipped high-altitude camps at the 7800m and 8300m.  The expedition will take place between April 10 and June 10, 2012.  I am very pleased that Fedor Konyukhov will be a member of our team this year.  I’ve known Fedor for 20 years, and I will be happy to help him realize his dream.”



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23.11.2011

9 – Heights of Abyssinia

In the months of November and December of 2011, together with “Ramidus Ethiopia Tour,” Fedor Konyukhov went on a trekking expedition to Ethiopia. The main goal of “9 – Heights of Abyssinia” expedition was to climb the following 9 peaks of the Ethiopian Highlands:1) Mount Choqa (also known as Mount Birhan), 4154 m2) Ras Dejen, 4620 m, the highest mountain in Ethiopia3) Guju, 3568 m4) Mount Batu, 4307 m5) Tulu Dimtu, 4377 m, the second-highest mountain in Ethiopia6) Mount Kaka, 3820 m7) Ch’ilalo Terara, 4139 m8) Mount Guna, 4210 m9) Abuyemeda, 4012 mIn addition to his exploring the Roof of Africa, Fedor Konykhov was looking forward to achieve

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In the months of November and December of 2011, together with “Ramidus Ethiopia Tour,” Fedor Konyukhov went on a trekking expedition to Ethiopia. The main goal of “9 – Heights of Abyssinia” expedition was to climb the following 9 peaks of the Ethiopian Highlands:

1) Mount Choqa (also known as Mount Birhan), 4154 m

2) Ras Dejen, 4620 m, the highest mountain in Ethiopia

3) Guju, 3568 m

4) Mount Batu, 4307 m

5) Tulu Dimtu, 4377 m, the second-highest mountain in Ethiopia

6) Mount Kaka, 3820 m

7) Ch’ilalo Terara, 4139 m

8) Mount Guna, 4210 m

9) Abuyemeda, 4012 m

In addition to his exploring the Roof of Africa, Fedor Konykhov was looking forward to achieve other, no less important goals of the expedition:

-To strength a cultural and historical collaboration between Russia and Ethiopia;

-Study the terrains of the Ethiopian Highlands in order to establish new routes for mount climbers and tourists; 

-Provide some assistance to Ethiopian mount climbers in their training to climb Mt. Everest.

Along with the organizers and sponsors of the expedition, Fedor Konyukhov developed a list of events to commemorate the historical and cultural ties between Russia and Ethiopia:

- Placement of a monument to the Russian poet A. S. Pushkin at the Pushkin’s square in Addis – Ababa;

- Placement of a memorial plaque to Alexander Bulatovich, a Russian military officer, explorer of Africa, writer, hieromonk and the leader of imyaslavie movement in Eastern Orthodox Christianity;

- Placement of a memorial plaque to Mikhail Babitchef, the first Ethiopian pilot, who was of Russian descent.

True to his own ways, Fedor Konyukhov planned this expedition to make sure that he would meet his 60th Birthday away from home.  His return to Ethiopia was not only to climb the high peaks of the Ethiopian Highlands, but to continue to learn and research the roots and history of the Orthodox Church in this part of the world. About 62.8 percent (Ethiopian Orthodox Christians 43.5%, Protestant 18.6% and Catholic 0.7 %) of the people of Ethiopia are Christians, while 33.9 % are reported to be Muslim, and just fewer than two million or 2.6 % adhere to traditional beliefs. Fedor continues to be fascinated by the fact that not only this county is the cradle of mankind, but also that Ethiopia is the oldest Christian state in the world.

 



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17.10.2011

On October 15th, 2011, at one of the most beautiful places on Cyprus Island, the bay of Cape Greco, arrived a magnificent barquentine “Running on Waves,” with a specific and extraordinary mission.  The expedition “Sources of Europe,” was to sail around Europe to conduct research on the ancient cities of Europe; their locations, archeology and probable reasons of decline or disappearance.  During the expedition, which started on August 23th, 2011 from the German port Bremenhaven, the barquentina stopped at 18 ports on 9 different European countries

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On October 15th, 2011, at one of the most beautiful places on Cyprus Island, the bay of Cape Greco, arrived a magnificent barquentine “Running on Waves,” with a specific and extraordinary mission.  The expedition “Sources of Europe,” was to sail around Europe to conduct research on the ancient cities of Europe; their locations, archeology and probable reasons of decline or disappearance.  During the expedition, which started on August 23th, 2011 from the German port Bremenhaven, the barquentina stopped at 18 ports on 9 different European countries.  Upon reaching the Island of Cyprus, the final destination of the expedition, an orthodox cross was lowered in the sea and secured to the bottom of Cape Greco bay.  The placement of the cross was to commemorate the completion of the journey. The plaque on the cross carries a message in three languages, Greek, Russian and English: “This cross has been laid by priest Fedor Konyukhov in commemoration of the successful completion of research expedition “Sources of Europe” commenced from port Bremenhaven, Germany and ended at the port of Larnaca, Cyprus on the barquentine “Running on Waves.” 

According to the Russian Orthodox Church custom, any time there is a need or desire to place an orthodox cross, anywhere in the world, or in this case, 15 meters under the sea, a Russian orthodox priest has to be present to consecrate such cross.  Fedor Konyukhov was invited by the organizers of this expedition and the owners of the “Running on Waves” to perform all the necessary steps of consecration of the cross at the very beginning of the trip and then, two months later, he flew in to Larnaca, Cyprus to be present at the submergence of the cross to sanctify this event. To bring and secure the cross to the bottom of the sea, 50 divers were recruited to participate in the event.  Fedor spent a week training for the dive which brought good memories from his past when he was a young student at a soviet nautical school.  On the day of the event, the mayor of Larnaca, the Island’s Archbishop and other officials of the Island were welcomed onboard of the barquentine.

It’s interesting to mention that according to the Russian Orthodox Church calendar, October 15th is the day of the Russian Admiral, St. Fedor Ushakov.  He was canonized in 2004 as the holly warrior, but long before that he was considered to be a patron saint of the Russian Navy.  The Admiral is known and remembered on the Island largely due to the fact that his victorious sea-campaigns against the Ottoman Empire during the second Russo-Turkish War were emancipatory for Cyprus.

The official sponsor of the expedition and owner of the barquentine is “88 Parsec LTD”

Project manager Leonid Gavrilov

Additional information on the expedition http://www.ngoclub.org/



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02.07.2009

Final leg from Antigua to England

Our departure on the twenty third of June from Horta was reasonable uneventful. The water depth at the fuel jetty was not sufficient for us to come alongside.  Plan "B" was to unload all our fuel jugs and carry them up to the fuel pump.  As we had experienced in our short stay in Horta the people are wonderful.  A small truck came alongside and on to this we loaded the fuel for the short trip along the marina to our yacht.  Several trips later and she was fueled up and ready to go.The weather forecast look really good so off  to Customs for our exit papers.  Of course everyone else had the same idea about the weather so there was a line up

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Our departure on the twenty third of June from Horta was reasonable uneventful. The water depth at the fuel jetty was not sufficient for us to come alongside.  Plan "B" was to unload all our fuel jugs and carry them up to the fuel pump.  As we had experienced in our short stay in Horta the people are wonderful.  A small truck came alongside and on to this we loaded the fuel for the short trip along the marina to our yacht.  Several trips later and she was fueled up and ready to go.

The weather forecast look really good so off  to Customs for our exit papers.  Of course everyone else had the same idea about the weather so there was a line up of eager sailors hoping to depart that day.  The morning rolled on so we decided lunch at Pete@@apos@@s Sports Bar would be in order.  As usual the food was magnificent and the service by the staff was fantastic.  It was just so tempting to stay a little longer but to sea we must go.  As we sailed out of the Port we looked back with very fond memories of Horta.  The food and beers the wonderful little cobblestoned winding streets the magnificent scenery was amazing but what stood out the most was the fabulous way the locals greeted us and welcomed us with open arms.  One of the most beautiful places I have sailed into for so many reasons.

Alongside us as we left was a yacht of about forty feet, heading in the same direction, Falmouth in the UK.  It was great fun as we quickly hoisted every piece of sail we could as the crew on the smaller yacht through out the challenge.  Within minutes however the winds increased, we powered up and waved good bye to them.

The distance to England was about one thousand one hundred nautical miles.  Five or six days sail we hoped for.  But as usual the best plans and dreams are some what hard to grasp.  A wonderful beam reach for the first one hundred miles and then of course the wind came on the nose. 

The winds by now were much more predictable.  No more of the massive rain storms coming through so we could sail with confidence at good speed.  An amazing journey with such a range of weather.  At times we were sailing through fog so thick you could hardly see the bow and at other times rain but never the less it was great.  Shipping is always an important consideration and the closer we got to England the more ships we passed.  Some times at night passing eight or nine.  Tacking and jibing knowing that those big guys don@@apos@@t often give way and of course that is understandable.

At times the winds dropped to zero and we slopped around for hours at a time but usually we sailed along quite nicely.

We drew close to England approaching from the South West.  A magnificent sight was  the St Mary@@apos@@s Islands.  The lights twinkling in the distance to as if say welcome to the UK.  We then tacked heading North of East, along the beautiful coast of England.  A flotilla of yachts were heading West as we came closer to Falmouth on the ninth day into our voyage.  As some would no as you approach there is a need to tend more Northerly and so we sailed very close to the coast passing magnificent homes perched high on the hills.  A little further on we passed many ships at anchor we guessed waiting to enter the port. 

Several Navy Frigates came along to have a close look at our yacht sailing along nicely with a full set of sails up.  Just a little further and we could hear the bell on the light house at the entrance to Falmouth Harbor.  The sails were lowered and the motor started for our last few moment together on this wonderful yacht.  Entering the harbor was magnificent.  Hundreds of yachts on moorings, ships alongside and the harbor traffic a frenzy.  We must have still been a sight for many yachts and power boats came alongside to welcome us.  After a short while the guys from the Pendennis Ship Yard came alongside and directed us to a mooring where she would lay for a while until hall out.

For me this was a rather emotional time.  I was now leaving a yacht that I had skippered halfway around the world through some of most unforgiving oceans of our planet.  She did a fine job but I will never forget the words Fedor said to me twelve months before this voyage.  "Look after her and she will look after you".

I guess this has been the most amazing journey one could ever dream of let alone accomplish.

Along the way I have met so many wonderful people but I say without hesitation the crews who have sailed with me will be remembered and admired for the rest of my life.

However in particular I would sincerely like to thank Fedor and Oscar for entrusting their yacht to a bushy from Western Australia and giving me the trip of a lifetime.  But even more than that I would like to thank them both for the wonderful friendship we have made.

In closing for I would simply like to say:

There are good ships, there are wood ships, there are ships that sail the seas!  But the best ships are friendships and may they always be!

Mark McRae

 



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24.06.2009

Good Bye Antigua-Hello Horta

We set sail from Antigua on the fifth of June 2009. With high hopes of strong winds, in the best direction, for a speedy crossing to the Azores@@apos@@.There were three of us on board so we stocked up on all the food needed for what we thought would be an easy two week voyage.  After several days we soon learnt about the Azores@@apos@@ highs.  Wind? No wind and if it did blow the breeze came from the North East.  So we tacked, tacked and tacked again all the way to the Port of Horta on the Azores@@apos@@ Island named Ilaha Do Faial.It was a memorable voyage for again I sailed with two Russian friends Igor and Andrey

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We set sail from Antigua on the fifth of June 2009. With high hopes of strong winds, in the best direction, for a speedy crossing to the Azores@@apos@@.

There were three of us on board so we stocked up on all the food needed for what we thought would be an easy two week voyage.  After several days we soon learnt about the Azores@@apos@@ highs.  Wind? No wind and if it did blow the breeze came from the North East.  So we tacked, tacked and tacked again all the way to the Port of Horta on the Azores@@apos@@ Island named Ilaha Do Faial.

It was a memorable voyage for again I sailed with two Russian friends Igor and Andrey. Fantastic guys with a great positive outlook on life and I can say this helps very much when you are laying in the doldrums.

The temperature dropped significantly during this trip leaving Antigua in sweltering heat to arrive near the Azores@@apos@@ with a blanket needed to keep warm at night.

At times the winds were kind to us but of course our yacht performed as fast as she could with maximum speeds of ten to twelve knot.  Mostly however we sailed slow with our average speed for the voyage of just five and a half knot.

As we came close to Horta, as it always does, the winds became stronger with our fastest sail of twelve to fourteen knot as we approached the harbor.  Quite a spectacle for those on land to see resulting in a welcoming party on the dock when we arrived.  When we did get into the marina area it was late at night so finding a pen that had been reserved for me was difficult.  A group of people called out for me to come alongside another yacht.  A nervous little adventure I must say because the yacht I was to raft up alongside was a brand new Oyster.  As you would be aware these yachts cost millions so I maneuvered very carefully making absolutely sure I didn@@apos@@t scratch our yacht.

The Port of Horta is one of the most beautiful towns I have seen.  Beautiful architecture dating back centuries.  The old fort buildings and the many many century old stores.  The streets are laid with cobble stones and it was not at all hard to drift back in time, thinking of who would have passed by these streets over the centuries.

Our stay in Horta was only for a few days but is a place that I would very very much like to return to.  Memorable for the architecture, its history but most memorable for the great people who live there.

The people of Horta were so magnificent.  So very friendly and to our great pleasure the immigration and customs authorities were efficient, courteous and very professional.

For me personally it was also a time in my life I shall never forget.  My birthday was on the twenty second of June and being in another time zone I was very privileged to celebrate turning fifty two on two days.

On the morning of Tuesday the twenty third we decided to set sail for Falmouth in the UK.  After doing a little shopping, collecting some postage stamps for my darling daughter Kate, who has a fantastic collection, we fueled up and cast off our lines at 1600GMT.  Bound for England!

Skipper - Mark McRae

 

 

25/06/2009

Our departure from Horta was rather uneventful although within a day our "new" crew wanted to have every piece of sail up I could find. So "as usual" the eager to sail fast crew were taught the lesson of watching out for rain squalls.  Over she healed with the starboard rail in the water, well until I could manage to scramble on deck and ease the main, the traveler, the solent "and" of course bare away.  Their eyes were the size of basketballs so after this little exercise in being overpowered was experienced by the crew they decided to sail conservatively and now fully understood why this is the way I sail her.  With all the sails up there is a huge amount area so in this part of the world the crew and I need to be very very observant of any cloud formations. 

Other than squalls coming through every so often the winds have again been very frustrating.  Although we have ha some hours of reasonable twelve to fourteen knots apparent at forty degrees giving us a comfortable speed of between seven and nine knot.

An intense low  is expected within the next twenty four hours and I do hope we have winds in the twenties.  Mostly with a solid cloud cover I can rely on steady winds so when the low does arrive we will be sailing with just the stay sail and number two reef in with number three reef ready,  loaded on the winches in case it blows over thirty five.  In these conditions we should be sailing along nice and safely at ten to twelve knot.

Falmouth is now less than a thousand nautical mile away.  It is interesting how distance plays on your mind.  Once under a thousand it feels like we are on the countdown, less than five hundred mile everyone is thinking about beer, steak and a nice bed.  Once we get down to one hundred miles we simply have to turn the corner and we are there. Of course I recite quite a famous saying to the crews and that is "it is not over until the fat lady sings" taken from the early days of theater in the UK I believe.  In other words it@@apos@@s not over until we get there and anything could happen.  But we always sail safe knowing that, to quote Fedor,  @@apos@@if we look after her she will look after us.

Mark

40.34N 24.39W

0923GMT 25/06/2009



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23.03.2009

Open 85 Alye Parusa arrived to Antigua

Today Australian skipper Mark McRae and his international crew of 3 completed leg Falklands to Antigua and. Mark sent a brief report to our web site before he left Antigua for Albany (WA) “About the voyage up to Antigua. Mostly as you would have read from my reports it was a very quite trip

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Today Australian skipper Mark McRae and his international crew of 3 completed leg Falklands to Antigua and. Mark sent a brief report to our web site before he left Antigua for Albany (WA)

“About the voyage up to Antigua.


Mostly as you would have read from my reports it was a very quite trip. The max wind strength we had was 35 knots but for only one day.  Mostly we sailed with first or second reef in but never had to use third reef.  I changed between Solent and stay sail as conditions needed.  Mostly seas were clam with max swell about 2.5-3m.

She performed very well considering I was very determined to arrive in Antigua with the boat in perfect condition. She is a fine yacht.  Fedor said to me before you left the Falklands: "look after her and she will look after you".  A wise man who I respect very much”.

Start of the final leg from Antigua to UK (Falmouth) is scheduled for 03 of June 2009.



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19.03.2009

Just a step to the Left!

Or so the song was written but for us we took a little turn to the left on, of all dates, the thirteenth of March.  Having a North North Easterly heading for the past few weeks was good particularly with the winds blowing from the West however it was a welcome change to start heading more in tune with our final destination for this voyage.  Interestingly we completed the journey up the East coast of South America on one tack apart for half of one day when we needed to Gibe.So as expected as we reached the top of the Eastern corner of South America the winds shifted to the East North East meaning we changed to a Starboard tack and there we

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Or so the song was written but for us we took a little turn to the left on, of all dates, the thirteenth of March.  Having a North North Easterly heading for the past few weeks was good particularly with the winds blowing from the West however it was a welcome change to start heading more in tune with our final destination for this voyage. 

Interestingly we completed the journey up the East coast of South America on one tack apart for half of one day when we needed to Gibe.

So as expected as we reached the top of the Eastern corner of South America the winds shifted to the East North East meaning we changed to a Starboard tack and there we have remained for the past six days and look like staying on this tack until we reach Antigua.

Actually I must admit we did drop all sails and start the motor as we were approached by a small Brazilian fishing vessel.  This tiny little boat of about thirty feet was fully crewed up with about a dozen men long poling for Tuna.  The kindly offered us some fresh fish in return for some Alcohol.  We are a dry boat however Peter came up trumps when he came to the deck with a small bottle of Polish beer.  Peter was saving it for us to share as we crossed the equator but the thought of very fresh fish meant we parted with the beer.  The captain of the fishing boat was ecstatic and laughed out loudly as he turned his little fishing boat away and on to the horizon.

Some time later in fact the next day there was a heck of a jolt and the boat heaved to one side.  We were all a little startled however it was Simon who alerted us to the fact that we had just passed over the equator.  No beer to celebrate but we thanked King Neptune and asked for his continued guidance.

The fresh fish was very welcome but as one would expect no matter as soon as we received this fish our fishing lines started to dance.  Over the days we caught on average one fish a day so this has been very very welcome.  Out food supply is still good and of course with our water maker we are quite well fed and comfortable.

The sailing since the corner has been fantastic.  Most days the winds are blowing at around fifteen knot however in this region you must be very careful of rain squalls.  Thankfully you can see them coming but by golly when you see one on the horizon it@@apos@@s time to reef and reef fast.  Mostly the winds in these squalls are relatively mild reaching twenty five to thirty five knot however every so often on will come through and hit us with 45 knot winds.  It keeps the crew on their toes particularly at night however over the past few nights the squalls are becoming less.

Shipping has been very quite with usually one or two ships going past during the night.  Often we see fishing boats lit up around us. Mostly I believe they may be built of timber for rarely do they set off the Active Echo System and never do we see them on Radar.  But it is nice to know there are others among us out here.

At present we are just North East of the Amazons about 275 nm off shore.  The conditions today are again perfect with sixteen to eighteen knot of wind.  We are sailing rather conservatively with our full solent out and one reef in the main.  At night I like to roll in the solent and un-furl the Stay Sail.  This combined with a second reef in the main provides us with enough security should an unexpected squall hit us.  Besides over the past weeks reducing to this sail plan has only meant a very small reduction in speed of about one to one and a half Knot.

The wild life are out and about now with many birds, flying fish making spectacular landings on our decks and of course lots of dolphins.  A few days ago we attracted a pod of dolphins that we all estimated to be in the vicinity of several hundreds.  Standing at the bow looking out to the horizon the sea was awash with dolphins.  A spectacular sight with often eight to ten vying for position under our bow.

Our yacht is performing well with no breakages apart from one rudder stock showing some signs of wear however it does not concern me greatly.

We now have one thousand one hunded nautical miles till Antigua so I am expecting that we will arrive on the date I predicted some weeks ago.  The twenty fourth of this month.  More luck than good management I should say.

My next report will be from Antigua and I guess this will be completed whilst I enjoy a cold beer and a juicy steak.



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01.03.2009

Farewell to the Cold

First week leg 2 Falklands to Antigua

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First week leg 2 Falklands to Antigua.

We cast off our lines at 011:00 LT on Sunday the Twenty Second with as usual the wind building.  The inner and outer  harbor were now home to many many squid fishing boats as they call them down here but they look like ships to me.  Lonely faces along the deck I guess wondering where we had come from and where we were heading.  For these poor people on board these boats they, mostly Chinese desperate to provide for their families back home, can only look forward to extreme conditions both in weather and in work environment.  It was interesting to listen to the whispers from concerned locals of the human exploitation at the hands of the ships masters.  Only a few months before we arrived nine desperate men jumped with the few possessions they had into the freezing cold water in the port Stanley harbor.  Only two survived their attempt to gain freedom and yet the Falkland government although well aware of what is happening continue to issue fishing licenses to these ships.

As we motored out of the outer harbor we looked back for some of us may never ever return here.  The people have been fantastic and we now have many friends on the other side of the world but in particular I would like to mention the "crew" at the Seaman@@apos@@s mission.  Their hospitality and generosity will never be forgotten.  Anyone sailing into Stanley must meet these wonderful people and share the warmth and friendship that was extended to us all.   Quite remarkable people with such amazing energy and dedication providing a wonderful service to visiting seaman!

My crew for this trip is truly international.  Peter from Poland, Rene from Canada and Simon from New Zealand.  All have extensive sailing histories and I look forward to spending the next weeks ahead and sharing our sailing knowledge on our voyage to Antigua.

We headed North as the wind began to build from the North West.  Little did we know then that this breeze would be with us for the next one thousand miles.  In fact to be completely accurate the wind changed only once giving us the opportunity to gybe and then gybe again less than twelve hours later.  The wind has been quite amazing with the average between sixteen and twenty two knot.  On occasions we have had squalls to thirty but these have lasted only moments.  It is hard to believe that we have been on a Port tack for nearly this whole distance.

The other quite remarkable aspect is that we have had rain for only a few hours on the fourth night out of Stanley.

This morning as I type the air is rather dry.  The oil skins have been put away and Simon and myself are down to T Shirts and shorts.  The sea temperature has doubled since we left however as usual we are very aware that we are a long way from land so  the grumpy skipper still insists that all outside the cabin must wear an inflatable jacket and be clipped on at all times.  Perhaps in another thousand miles we might relax a little however safety is paramount.

We are now drawing alongside or should I say are seven hundred and thirty  nautical miles East of Banco Santa Lucia.  The night is perfect, not a cloud in the sky.  Well for a cruise ship this may be the case but for us the winds, as expected in this area, are dropping rapidly.  Tomorrow will bring very warm weather and cloudless skies.  Unfortunately the motor will need to be started for although each of us are enjoying this journey immensely we do have arrive in Antigua sooner than later.

38.03S 41.40W

3.29 GMT

Mark McRae



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21.02.2009

Message from skipper Mark McRae.

Our arrival in Stanley was rather uneventful.The weather fine with little breeze which was fantastic so we were able to motor in quite safely.  Although, as usual when we got close to our berth position a few strong gusts came through which meant our pre-arranged escort boat was need to bring our bow in.   Our warps were secured with Springer@@apos@@s on.  Customs arrived shortly afterwards and we started the process of obtaining visas for our Russian crew.  Not a simple task which eventuated is us all bundling into a vehicle and proceeding to the customs office for the Government required photos of our crew.  For myself it was a simple

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Our arrival in Stanley was rather uneventful.The weather fine with little breeze which was fantastic so we were able to motor in quite safely.  Although, as usual when we got close to our berth position a few strong gusts came through which meant our pre-arranged escort boat was need to bring our bow in.   Our warps were secured with Springer@@apos@@s on.  Customs arrived shortly afterwards and we started the process of obtaining visas for our Russian crew.  Not a simple task which eventuated is us all bundling into a vehicle and proceeding to the customs office for the Government required photos of our crew.  For myself it was a simple process being an Australian citizen.

Over the next few days we enjoyed fantastic weather with temperatures in the high teens with one day soaring to twenty two.

Stanley is the port of call for many tourist ships.  Some days the islands population would increase three fold with some ships bringing ashore two to three thousand visitors.  Sometimes two ships on the same day.

Walking down the main street of Stanley on the Sunday I arrived there was complete silence.  Not a vehicle in site and very few people.  So quite I could almost hear my own heart beat.

Six of our crew departed the Falklands on the Tuesday with the remaining two staying onboard until today.  They have now left.  It was rather difficult to say goodbye.  They had all become such good friends over the time of our passage from Auckland.

Stanley is quite a remarkable town with friendly people and a very relaxed atmosphere.

Over the past week we have had little wind apart from one or two days with gusts to forty to fifty knots.  We are well secured although today will be a test with seventy knot squalls predicted.  More warps have been laid and we are very safe alongside a reasonably protected berth.

Simon arrived from Auckland two weeks ago with the remaining crew, Peter from Poland and Rene from Canada arriving this afternoon.  Just as soon as they refresh from their long flights we will set sail, probably Sunday or Monday morning depending on the winds, to start another adventure.  We look forward to the warmer climates as we head North to Antigua

 

Mark McRae

Port Stanley

Falkland Islands

12.30 GMT 21/02/2009



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13.02.2009

Just Over the Horizon!

Actually we have just under one hundred and ninety nautical miles until we throw our lines in Port Stanley.  The locals we have been speaking with all seem rather excited about a yacht such as ours visiting their port.Their excitement however pails into insignificance compared to the excitement of the crew

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Actually we have just under one hundred and ninety nautical miles until we throw our lines in Port Stanley.  The locals we have been speaking with all seem rather excited about a yacht such as ours visiting their port.

Their excitement however pails into insignificance compared to the excitement of the crew. Already they have planned and selected the youngest crew member to run as fast as possible, after customs clearance, to the nearest hamburger store.  We are pushing her along as fast as we can at the moment on a course not directly to Port Stanley but I do hope for the crews sake we arrive at a respectful hour tomorrow.  My thoughts are that it will probably be between midday and Four O@@apos@@clock  Falklands time (GMT - 3hrs) which should provide time for a nice hot shower a change of clothes, the first time for many of us, and a nice meal.

The conditions at the moment, even though our heading isn@@apos@@t perfect, are fantastic.  The cloud cover is lite and we may get some nice sunshine over the next few hours which may enable us to dry her out.  Condensation is always an issue with this type of alloy construction but nothing that a few warm hours won@@apos@@t fix.

Our sail past the island named "Isla De Los Estados was simply lovely.  This is a massive Island with very little vegetation.  We passed within just a mile of her sailing along side for several hours.  The highest peak on this island is more than three thousand feet high.  The terrain is extremely rugged with massive pointy outcrops of stone pointing  to the heavens.  At the North Eastern corner however there are some flats with some type of grass and some small shrubs.  At times most of the peaks were shrouded in clouds but every so often the sun would shine through revealing spectacular colors.  Very similar to what you would expect to see in Northern Scotland.  As we passed by I was standing right at the bow and on several occasions wondered if anyone had ever tried living on such a desolate place.

The reason I was at the bow was to keep a lookout for kelp.  As we approached this Island we saw "massive" clumps with some of the pieces eight to ten meters long.  The last thing we wanted was to have some of this wrapped around our keel or worse still around one of our rudders.  We decided that this kelp is possibly the type referred to often as the sea forest.

As night settled in we observed several fishing boats.  This area, the Burdwood Bank, is quite shallow with the water going from a depth of four thousand meters to forty four meters in a matter of a few miles.  It is rich in seafood with fishing boats from all over the world coming here to fill their hold.  The other aspect is that this area attracts many sea birds and in particular Albatross.  Often over the miles we see perhaps two or three at one time but here they are in groups of eight and ten often more.

We have now been at sea for over thirty two days.  Nothing when compared to the Volvo guys however to us it has been quite an adventure.  Of course for Fedor this time at sea is like a drop in the ocean.  More and more every day the crew appreciate, understand and acknowledge the amazing journeys Fedor has undertaken.

My next report should be from Port Stanley!

53.53S 61.27W

14.10 GMT

Mark McRae



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