Fedor Konyukhov
enru
11.02.2009

Tharrr she blows.

For any of us board to believe that we would have perfect sailing conditions all the way to the Falklands we would be deemed crazy. Eventually we must, according to carefully bound reports from the past two to three hundred years, strike some Southern Ocean weather.And that we have!For the past twenty four hours the weather has been exactly what we were hoping we "might" be able to avoid. Mostly the wind has been blowing from the West, immediately behind us, so we have been gibing often to make full use of the wind

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For any of us board to believe that we would have perfect sailing conditions all the way to the Falklands we would be deemed crazy. Eventually we must, according to carefully bound reports from the past two to three hundred years, strike some Southern Ocean weather.

And that we have!

For the past twenty four hours the weather has been exactly what we were hoping we "might" be able to avoid. Mostly the wind has been blowing from the West, immediately behind us, so we have been gibing often to make full use of the wind. Wind is certainly what we have with speeds averaging thirty to forty knots with serious squalls coming through more often than we would like. The squalls hit us hard with some up to sixty knots but mostly around forty five to fifty.

Of course these winds combined with mountainess seas are providing us with some very interesting moments to say the least. The swells as mentioned are rather large, perhaps around eight to ten metres however down here in the Southern Ocean, because of the water depth, averaging around three thousand metres, the swells are not sharp as you would experience in more shallow water. Having said this however with these gusts of wind hitting sixty knots the wind waves on top make the swells a little dangerous.  From time to time one of these rogu? swells with a large wind wave on top slams into the side of us near the Starboard quarter. As the tons of water hits the hull we are lifted and thrown sideways often being pushed further sideways by the power of the swell.  We recover and get back on course only to be hit with another.  Despite all this we are very safe. At present the only sail we have up is the main reefed right down to the third reef giving us a safe speed of around d eight to ten knots with occasional bursts down swells to fifteen.

As we approach Cape Horn we have to be very mindful of the shallower water we will be sailing into in the Drake Passage from water three thousand metres deep to water that is just one hundred and fifty metres deep. So because of this shallow water "if" these massive swells continue we will choose not to sail close to Cape Horn to avoid dangerous conditions. In this case our course would then take us South of Diego Ramirez where we can stay in very deep water before swinging North East towards the Falklands. This would be a very disappointing result for we all would love to sail close enough to see Cabo De Hornos.

We are all well however looking forward to a nice steak in Port Stanley.

Mark McRae

56.10S 81.35W

Forecast from Lee Bruce

Still a complicated pattern in the forecast.
A front is expected to be to your NW late on the 11th--aligned NE to SW.
The front is expected to slow, and should be near Ramirez at about 12/06Z.
Wind on the SE side of the front should be NNE, and wind on the NW side should be WNW.
Based on the latest, and aiming for Ramirez : the most efficient route might involve pushing NE to 56S before coming back down.
But that@@apos@@s a bit scary in case things change and you get stuck too far north.
So the forecast below is based on trying to hold a rhumb line to Ramirez, but should involve some southing:

Wind stays 30-35 gust 40kt thru 11/00Z.

11/06: WSW 25-30

11/12: W 15, clocking thru NW and becoming very light

11/18: NNE 5-10, incrsg.

12/00: NNE 20

12/06: backing as front passes; bcmg NNW 15-20

12/18: WNW 25-30

13/06: WNW/NW 20-25

13/18: SW 20-25

The above assumes passing Ramirez about 25nm to the south, but we may see changes in subsequent forecasts.



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08.02.2009

Bombs Away!

Over the past weeks we have faced some rather serious challenges. Hardly life threatening but never the less intrusions and barriers that few modern day men can face and most importantly overcome. Without describing in detail all of these one by one I might just advise you of the toughest ones we have learnt, as a team, to overcome. For example we are now desperately short of coffee.  But in true adventurer fashion we have overcome this to some extent by refusing to wash our coffee mugs between drinks.Our tea bag situation, although not dangerously bad at this stage, is being boosted by our uncanny ability to get two maybe three cups out of

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Over the past weeks we have faced some rather serious challenges. Hardly life threatening but never the less intrusions and barriers that few modern day men can face and most importantly overcome. Without describing in detail all of these one by one I might just advise you of the toughest ones we have learnt, as a team, to overcome. For example we are now desperately short of coffee.  But in true adventurer fashion we have overcome this to some extent by refusing to wash our coffee mugs between drinks.

Our tea bag situation, although not dangerously bad at this stage, is being boosted by our uncanny ability to get two maybe three cups out of each bag. The gas situation is also rather grim however we have found that by  placing a Сhappati down the front of the coat of our wet weather gear within an hour or so they are not only nice and warm but most importantly take on a rather soft texture feel meaning we can wrap our cold rice and tinned fish with ease without worrying about the Chappati breaking into pieces. These few obstacles however pale into insignificance in comparison to this new on board challenge. 

During the day we undertake many little jobs. Tidying up, cleaning and so forth but a new task now greets us each morning.  My snoring has had the effect of  undoing most nuts and bolts on the ship.  The vibration and noise is quite amazing so much to say most of the crew have taken on serious head gear so they can not only sleep when off watch but also concentrate when they are at the helm.

Talking about head gear and "really" serious situations we received a navigation warning email yesterday from the Coast Guard in Chili. On the eight and ninth of February at around eight each morning "articles" will be arriving from space almost exactly in the area we are sailing. To be more exact the email goes on to describe these articles as pieces of space junk to quote "Space Vehicle Elements".  We do not particularly care if this debris is a rusty old Holden (or Lada) car or empty soup tins however "Space Vehicle Elements" is causing us some concern. 

So much to say that on board we have strategic management procedures to follow in times like this.  For example we have an evacuation area. "The heads " (Not just because of the cooking) Where we can all greet meet and be accounted for.  We have onboard safety gear for such happenings.  "Hard Hats". I believe we will be posting a safety bulletin on the mess wall this morning advising all crew that they must wear a hard hat when on deck.

Otherwise life on board has been great to say the least! The weather has been wonderful with us sailing Eastwards averaging around 8-10kt with the occasional burst to15-16kt as we surf down these magnificent swells.

52.36S  098.29W

15.30GMT

Mark McRae

 

YEAR 2009 –ALL SHIPS--

0005 SOUTH PACIFIC AREAS TEMPORARILY DANGEROUS TO NAVIGATION DUE TO   SPACE VEHICLE ELEMENTS FALLING FROM 0600 TO 0800 09 FEB BETWEEN

  POSITIONS:

  L-323300S1, G-1470300W5. L-401400S9, G-1353500W7

  L-504700S6, G-0904300W6. L-524300S4, G-0915300W8

  L-431400S2, G-1390500W8. L-323100S9, G-1543200W5.

 



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07.02.2009

Forecast from Lee Bruce

Over the coming week, a strong low is forecast to wander eastward between 58S-62S.This will create a band of sustained 40+kt wind.  For example, by 09/00Z, the 40+kt wind field should stretch from 53S to 60S and from 109W  to 90W.Total wave heights in that pattern: 11m, occasional 14m.The long-term outlook suggests that you can make CH even from the berg WP of 53S 90W.This forecast assumes a course toward the WP, then a rhumb line to CH:07/00Z: WNW/20-25kt07/06: NNW 30-35 gust 4007/12: NW 30-35 gust 4008/00: WNW 30-35 gust 4008/12: W to WNW 25-3008/18: WNW 30-35 gust 4009/00: WNW 35-40 gust 5009/12: WNW 40-45 gust 55 (assumes position near

Details

Over the coming week, a strong low is forecast to wander eastward between 58S-62S.

This will create a band of sustained 40+kt wind.  For example, by 09/00Z, the 40+kt wind field should stretch from 53S to 60S and from 109W  to 90W.

Total wave heights in that pattern: 11m, occasional 14m.

The long-term outlook suggests that you can make CH even from the berg WP of 53S 90W.

This forecast assumes a course toward the WP, then a rhumb line to CH:

07/00Z: WNW/20-25kt

07/06: NNW 30-35 gust 40

07/12: NW 30-35 gust 40

08/00: WNW 30-35 gust 40

08/12: W to WNW 25-30

08/18: WNW 30-35 gust 40

09/00: WNW 35-40 gust 50

09/12: WNW 40-45 gust 55 (assumes position near 54S 86W-85W; same wind is present at 53-56S, so not many options to avoid)

10/00: W 40-45 gust 55

10/12: WSW 35-40 gust 50 (waves may limit southing)

The strong wind dies off by 11/00Z, and the pattern becomes more conducive for getting south to clear CH.

Lee



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05.02.2009

As the crow fly\'s

We have just over "one thousand, four hundred and forty six nautical miles" to Cape Horn. I think 1446nm sounds better! We are cruising at ten knots with the wind coming over our Port quarter. We had hoped at this stage to dive further South however the direction of the wind is forcing us to take a more Easterly line. Preparations are under way for our arrival in Port Stanley so with all this Easting and the talk of "when we get there" is gaining momentum.As the crow fly@@apos@@s is just one of so many nautical terms we still use today

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We have just over "one thousand, four hundred and forty six nautical miles" to Cape Horn. I think 1446nm sounds better! We are cruising at ten knots with the wind coming over our Port quarter. We had hoped at this stage to dive further South however the direction of the wind is forcing us to take a more Easterly line. Preparations are under way for our arrival in Port Stanley so with all this Easting and the talk of "when we get there" is gaining momentum.

As the crow fly@@apos@@s is just one of so many nautical terms we still use today. This saying came from the early mariners who would take on board a murder of crows letting them live in a cage three quarters of the way up the mast. Hence the term "crows nest". Whenever there was any doubt as to the direction of the nearest terra firma a crow would be released. Around and around the ship it would fly but eventually, much to the pleasure of the "lost Captain" the crow would head to the nearest land. All of these nautical terms are available in good ships book stores or of course on the internet. Take the time to read through a few. You will be amazed just how many we use in modern times. Some are quite amusing and will bring a smile to your face.

The weather, particularly today has been simply superb. Nothing like the stories we read and hear about the ferocious Southern Ocean.  The sun is shining so we are all taking the opportunity to dry out our belongings. She looks a little like a Chinese laundrey from time to time and today is no exception. Never the less it is crucial that every time there is the slightest hint of warmth we dry out as much as we can.

One thing I have learnt over the years is that whatever you suggest or mention about the weather the opposite will happen within hours. It@@apos@@s best to say nothing and the enjoy the status quo.

So I am thinking that soon the wind will blow the milk out of our tea.

51.40S 107.58W

04/02/2009 23.25 GMT

Mark McRae



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03.02.2009

Battening down the hatches.

After so many weeks of very little wind we have for the past twenty four hours enjoyed twenty five to thirty kt winds. She is at her best in these conditions, skimming along at ten to fourteen kt with two reefs in the main and a little stay sail.As usual we have been enjoying some really scrummy food and last night we celebrated the (approximately) half way mark. Well any excuse at all will do for a sip of fine New Zealand wine. Andrey is proving to be a fine chef mixing up the most amazing meals with a flick of his wrist

Details

After so many weeks of very little wind we have for the past twenty four hours enjoyed twenty five to thirty kt winds. She is at her best in these conditions, skimming along at ten to fourteen kt with two reefs in the main and a little stay sail.

As usual we have been enjoying some really scrummy food and last night we celebrated the (approximately) half way mark. Well any excuse at all will do for a sip of fine New Zealand wine. Andrey is proving to be a fine chef mixing up the most amazing meals with a flick of his wrist. We all very much appreciate his culinary skills so much so that we even allow him to wash up afterwards.

Last night after dinner a few of us watched Brave Heart. As you may know an amazing story about William Wallace and his bid to seek Scotland@@apos@@s freedom from England. A rather gory sort of a film but at least with sharing one pair off earphones with another crewman the sounds effects were not quite so bad.  It was rather difficult to snap out of the cozy theater scene and get back on watch however we were greeted with a spectacular evening. A million stars were enjoyed by all. Satellites zooming across the lower skies and the ever faithful Southern Cross guiding us on our merry way.

Everyone is getting rather excited as we move closer to Cape Horn but that is still quite a few days way yet. Never the less one mile after another! 1900 miles to Cape Horn.

Mark McRae

50.45S 122.26W
01/02/2009: 22.17 GMT



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01.02.2009

Forecast from Lee Bruce (Tactical Weather)

And although it is no guarantee, staying north should at least reduce the ice risk.So I assumed a mostly easterly heading in a corridor of 50S to 51S through about 100W. From there, we should start the process of getting to the Horn.01/00Z: W 20-25kt (assumes port tack)01/12: WNW 20-2501/18: NW/NNW 20-25, bldg to 30-35 gust 4002/00: NW 30-35 gust 4002/06: WNW 25-30 gust 35 (wave total 4.5-6m; WSW swell plus wind waves)02/12: W 20-25 bcmg WSW 20-2503/00: W 20-25 bcmg WNW 20-2503/06: NW 20 bcmg WNW to W 30 thru 04/12Z (waves WSW swell plus wind waves, for total of 6-7m, ocnl 8m; bigger to the south of 51S)Lee 30/01/2009 Ice report A "crack"

Details

And although it is no guarantee, staying north should at least reduce the ice risk.
So I assumed a mostly easterly heading in a corridor of 50S to 51S through about 100W.
From there, we should start the process of getting to the Horn.

01/00Z: W 20-25kt (assumes port tack)

01/12: WNW 20-25

01/18: NW/NNW 20-25, bldg to 30-35 gust 40

02/00: NW 30-35 gust 40

02/06: WNW 25-30 gust 35 (wave total 4.5-6m; WSW swell plus wind waves)

02/12: W 20-25 bcmg WSW 20-25

03/00: W 20-25 bcmg WNW 20-25

03/06: NW 20 bcmg WNW to W 30 thru 04/12Z (waves WSW swell plus wind waves, for total of 6-7m, ocnl 8m; bigger to the south of 51S)

Lee

 

30/01/2009

Ice report

A "crack" in the night! Well we didn@@apos@@t hear this but we are now aware, thanks to our friends in the USA, that a few nights ago a very large Ice Burg coded B/15

Our weather router Mr Lee Bruce reported: "At least some of the ice you are seeing is from two large bergs farther South, that have been breaking up over the past two months."

Mr Bruce made contact with Professor Long at Brigham Young University (USA). He tracks bergs, but uses QuikSCAT satellite information, which cannot see bergs smaller than about 5km. "I told him about your ice encounters, Lee said, and Professor Long replied:

Lee, I am not surprised by your report. Both B15a and C19a have been breaking up over the last month or two and we have seen smaller pieces spreading all over the place. In all the years I@@apos@@ve been using scatterometer data to track icebergs, we have NEVER seen this much ice in this area. It in unfortunate that our sensor (which was never designed for this purpose) has relative coarse resolution and so can@@apos@@t see the small (less than about 5km or so -- still really big) to keep track of, especially since this small bergs produces smaller and harder to detect ice. Right now, the whole southern ocean over a wide area near the locations your report indicated have the potential for serious amounts of ice... Dr. David G. Long Director, BYU Center for Remote Sensing

Lee has asked a French company (CLS) if they would be interested in sharing their experimental ice detection data (garnered from satellite data that is processed by software to spot bergs). The French company provided iceberg data to the Vendee Globe fleet, so they understand the need for any assistance they may be able to afford us.

In the mean time we continue to sail in an Easterly direction with our forecast for the next three days very favorable. All the crew are happy that we are getting some serious miles under our keel although the other side of this is that it is more difficult to prepare meals.  Never mind the taste of a seriously large steak and a glass of red wine is getting closer by the mile.

Mark McRae

Forecast from Lee Bruce

Looks like useable wind for heading mostly east for several days. Dir shifts mainly in W to NW quadrant, so some deviation either side of 090T hdg likely.

Wind should freshen frm NNW 20-25kt by 18Z.

30/00Z: NNW 20kt. Squalls by 03Z ahead of front.

30/06: Front movg thru. Wind backs thru NW to WNW 20-25

30/12: WNW 20 bcmg NW 13-18

30/18: NW 13-18, bcmg NW 20-25

31/00: NW 20-25

31/12: N 20

31/18: NNE 30, bcmg WNW 30 as another front passes

Useable W to NW wind 15-30kt is in the outlook thru at least 03 Feb

Lee



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29.01.2009

Report from Mark McRae

A Burger (Ice Burg) King store must be here somewhere in the Southern Pacific Ocean.Our night was spent keeping watch for ice burgs. During the night we passed approximately fourteen ranging in size from small ones the size of football fields to massive lumps of ice perhaps a mile long.It was difficult to judge accurately because of the darkness and most importantly the very heavy fog that surrounded us. Visibility was restricted to perhaps one hundred meters

Details

A Burger (Ice Burg) King store must be here somewhere in the Southern Pacific Ocean.

Our night was spent keeping watch for ice burgs. During the night we passed approximately fourteen ranging in size from small ones the size of football fields to massive lumps of ice perhaps a mile long.

It was difficult to judge accurately because of the darkness and most importantly the very heavy fog that surrounded us. Visibility was restricted to perhaps one hundred meters. Thank goodness Alye Parusa has a sophisticated radar system.

As the sun rose this morning the horizon about us was filled with a new bunch.  A brilliant morning, the sky above a fabulous blue, hardly  a cloud to be seen. Of course this shows off these ice blocks to their true majestic beauty. Last night we had to navigate within five hundred meters of a very large burg. As we got closer and closer, as the fog lifted for just a moment, it revealed a very ugly, gnarly, grumpy, cold old man. At night they look simply terrible. But this morning in the brilliant sunshine words are difficult to find to describe their incredible beauty.

It is interesting that when we sailed South, into the fifties we did not see a burg until 50.57S and of course there were many the further South we sailed but now heading North to escape we are finding more and more. As if this belt of Ice Burgs starts at 156.52 West and heads to the East with burgs close to the Forties.  We will continue to observe and note positions as we continue.

Otherwise life on board, apart from being incredibly cold and damp, is great.  Our gas supply is getting low, mostly because of the extended duration of this voyage. One cup of tea every second day really makes you appreciate a warm cuppa.



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28.01.2009

A retreat to the North.

More then 10 Ice Bergs were observed over the past ten hours. This along with a change in wind direction has meant that we take a Northerly route for safety and smoother sailing.  Although at the moment the seas, although not big, are rather sharp and difficult to navigate through. Often we are falling off waves crashing down into the troughs with a bone shuddering thump. She is a strong ship and we are looking after her in these conditions. Cooking is another matter. It is very difficult to come up with a five course meal in these conditions

Details

More then 10 Ice Bergs were observed over the past ten hours. This along with a change in wind direction has meant that we take a Northerly route for safety and smoother sailing. 

Although at the moment the seas, although not big, are rather sharp and difficult to navigate through. Often we are falling off waves crashing down into the troughs with a bone shuddering thump. She is a strong ship and we are looking after her in these conditions.

Cooking is another matter. It is very difficult to come up with a five course meal in these conditions. The soup spills, the oysters slide off the plate, the roast pork is difficult to slice and the chocolate sweet cake will not rise in the oven. Oh we wish!

Orders are now being taken in anticipation of our arrival in the Falklands with steak and red wine very high on the list. Still the Falklands are a long way off at the moment being 2900nm to the East.

So we batten down and make the best of what we have. "A wonderful experience"

Mark McRae

54.14S 145.12W

 

27/01/2009

Icebergs!

Life on board Alye Parusa keeps getting better.

Last night as we sailed through the darkness of the fifties we had a feeling that we might be closer to more Ice Bergs. The air was extremely chilly with any exposed skin burning with cold. The water temperature fell to six degrees. We all knew we must be close.

As the sun rose this morning I was awakened by Dennis asking me to come quickly to the cockpit. Dragging clothes on quickly, expecting the unknown, I scrambled up the companionway steps to find nearly all of the crew gazing into the distance. There before us were magnificent Ice Bergs, gleaming in the morning sun. Two ahead, two to Starboard and one big fat old fellow behind. Our escape route was to the North so with a stern command from our watch captain away we sailed. North again not only in search of wind but also to escape from these amazing "ice blocks".

The bird life, particularly the albatross, have become quite used to us over the past week. I am sure one, with a magnificent wing span of perhaps nine feet, is quite happy flying in close to us, at times sweeping across our bow, sometimes hovering at our stern looking down on us as if we are invading his territory. The fish is another matter. There aren@@apos@@t any although the night before last small squid were observed swimming just below the surface. Calamari was the whispered word however we returned to the cockpit some what saddened by our fishing skills and so scrambled eggs for dinner.

The forecast for the next twenty four hour period is again for light winds however by late tomorrow night we expect some fresh winds to drive us towards Cape Horn.

Mark McRae



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26.01.2009

Celebration on board Alye Parusa.

For many this could be just another day but to us Aussies it is a time to celebrate.  It is now 00.20 on Monday morning the Twenty Sixth of January. "Australia day". However there is also one other very important celebration on board.  Today is the anniversary of Fedors start in the Antarctica Cup from the Port of Albany a small city on the South coast of Western Australia.  And what a day it was.. Thousands of well wishers lined the vantage points along the harbor and Mt Clarence to bid Fedor farewell

Details

For many this could be just another day but to us Aussies it is a time to celebrate.  It is now 00.20 on Monday morning the Twenty Sixth of January. "Australia day".

However there is also one other very important celebration on board.  Today is the anniversary of Fedors start in the Antarctica Cup from the Port of Albany a small city on the South coast of Western Australia. 

And what a day it was.. Thousands of well wishers lined the vantage points along the harbor and Mt Clarence to bid Fedor farewell. Little did we know then that this voyage into the history books would stretch to over one hundred days.  Over one hundred days at sea, alone, managing a maxi yacht, sailing her safely and as quickly as the sea would allow, chasing the winds to achieve what many would consider a miracle.

For us on board the stark reality of Fedors solo voyage is having quite an influence.  Having only been at sea for just a short while we are all amazed at Fedors strengths however over the past few days we have grown to respect a man of incredible substance. A sailor, a teacher, a person who is fantastic company and yet a very humble person who simply gets on with the task at hand.  For us occasional yachties we are amazed by what Fedor achieved.

The Antarctica Cup was created by Mr Bob Williams and over some time prior to the event Bob, Fedor and Oscar built a wonderful relationship so much so that Bob flew to the UK to meet them in anticipation of Fedors willingness to enter the race.   Months later it was a joy to see Fedor and Oscar sail into Albany to prepare for the race.  Some time before this I also became involved in the event and like Bob cherish our friendship with Fedor and Oscar.

Fedor returned to Albany to be greeted by thousands and in his usual way he sometimes waved gently to the crowd.  An incredible man.

Mark McRae 



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23.01.2009

Drama on board Alye Parusa..

Why are they shooting, why are they shooting screamed Fedor at midnight last evening. I thought they were friends yelled Alex.  The crew were wakened and raced to the mess in anticipation of the worst. Alas it was only Fedor and Alex watching another "gangster movie" with there head phones on. So back to being on watch and to bed we stumbled relieved with our findings.Life on board is interesting to say the least.  Thankfully we have a great bunch of guys

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Why are they shooting, why are they shooting screamed Fedor at midnight last evening. I thought they were friends yelled Alex.  The crew were wakened and raced to the mess in anticipation of the worst. Alas it was only Fedor and Alex watching another "gangster movie" with there head phones on. So back to being on watch and to bed we stumbled relieved with our findings.

Life on board is interesting to say the least.  Thankfully we have a great bunch of guys. For sure it is some what frustrating with these light winds however we all may have read the children@@apos@@s story about the Turtle and the Hare.

The meals have been fantastic with us all taking turns at creating culinary delights. Last night however the cook had the night off and so we tasted several different types of dry meat from New Zealand. As mentioned New Zealand has some of the finest foods and this was no exception. The nine of us shared four stubbies of warm beer that went down rather well with the meat.

Cookies are the order of the day, most of the day, and thankfully we stocked up well prior to leaving Auckland. Stocking a yacht with food for such a voyage takes considerable planning but no matter how hard there is always something you run short of. Our coffee supply is low however we have more tea on board than you could possibly imagine. My last voyage from Albany to Auckland resulted in a similar situation but we get by with a last resort of strawberry jam and hot water.

The yacht is looking great both inside and out. At present we have a full main and both the solent and the stay sail unfurled. Earlier we were flying our new 360 sq meters gennaker and again it is quite spectacular to see this enormous sail flying in the breeze. A magnificent sight.

Our path to chase the wind has sent us much higher in latitude than we had hoped for we are now sailing in the fifties. One truly amazing consequence of this was that we observed our first Ice Berg last night. An unforgettable experience.

Well for me now it is time to retire as Fedor and Alex settle in to a James Bond movie. No murders tonight I hope!

Mark McRae



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