Fedor Konyukhov
enru
19.04.2008

Clearing Kerguelen

After period of light and variable winds and absolutely chaotic sea and wind shifting from N to E to S we are sailing in powerful weather pattern with winds from S-W-S. Extremely cold – simply can’t freely breathe on deck. Frozen air is burning my lungs, I have to use handmade scarf to protect face. Heavy snow makes it very hard working in the cockpit. Although it is late in April, feels like mid winter. It is either I am getting tired or indeed winter is getting here. Waves monstrously big – that is typical for S-W storms

Details

After period of light and variable winds and absolutely chaotic sea and wind shifting from N to E to S we are sailing in powerful weather pattern with winds from S-W-S. Extremely cold – simply can’t freely breathe on deck. Frozen air is burning my lungs, I have to use handmade scarf to protect face. Heavy snow makes it very hard working in the cockpit. Although it is late in April, feels like mid winter. It is either I am getting tired or indeed winter is getting here. Waves monstrously big – that is typical for S-W storms. Few days ago I had 48 hours of N-W gale force winds but sea was 5-6 meters, but 12 hours of S-W winds built up seas up to 8-9 meters and in keep rising. With N-W waves – the boat is sailing and surfing, but with S-W waves the boat is climbing up long hills. After spending nearly 3 months in the Southern Ocean below 45 South – I still can not get use to the power and size on S-W swell. I compare it like: sailing in N-W gale you experiencing Alps waves, but S-W gales bring Himalayan type waves and it is Big difference.

Thanks to Lee Bruce routing tactic we end up on the right side of the low pressure and now sailing away from Kerguelen with 45+ knots wind at 130-140 degrees to stbrd side of the boat. It would be very hard and dangerous to be south of Kerguelen where the wind is stronger and conditions are even colder. My task is to get to 46’30 South to avoid worse of shoaling. Kerguelen has very wide and shallow Plato with some areas of only 120 meters depth. It is very shallow for Southern Ocean conditions, for example right now I have 2.500 meters under keel and 8 meters waves, imagine these masses of water from two kilometers come up to shoaling 200 meters – it will bring very step waves, nearly vertical walls. I have experienced these waves near New Zealand – it is like riding rollercoaster and boat may end up in severe broaching with some damaging consequences. Once you get there – nothing you can do, so we must do our best to stay North and round shoaling.

Overall things are good on board. Southern Ocean is keep testing my yacht and gives me some hard times as well, but this is all part of the game and I don’t feel that it does it intentionally. Kergulen was here million years ago, as well as gale force winds. So I have to adapt to every weather patters and live with that. It is all power of Nature, I came here to witness this unique environment and learn something for my self. Southern Ocean is vast, but every journey has its end and I can feel that we are on the final stretch. Regards, Fedor  

Position: 47,23.87S , 67,38.31E
Speed: 9 knots, Course: 55 deg.
UTC Time: 19. April 2008 18:20
wind 30-40 kt SW - FEDOR OK

Regards, Fedor

The archipelago of Kerguelen is made up of one large island with hundreds of smaller islands surrounding it. There are hundreds of miles of coastline were hundreds fjords and bays are formed. These islands were created by ancient volcanic activity. Kerguelen Islands are also called the "islands of desolation" because the landscape is barren without trees. There is far too much wind for trees to survive. Because there is no industry or living population of humans on the islands, the land and water surrounding the area is not polluted. The water in the area is some of the purest in the world.

 



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17.04.2008

17 April 08. \"the most difficult weather scenario that Fedor has faced\".

From Lee Bruce at Tactical Weather. “This is probably the most difficult weather scenario that Fedor has faced. Persistent NNW wind has driven Fedor south of east over the past 24 hours. As he approaches KerguelenIsland, the weather pattern will be in tremendous flux. And the forecast has been changing as to the movement of the primary features. If we were dealing just with the weather, it would not be so difficult. But adding the large land and shoaling of Kerguelen adds a very big problem to the mix. I looked at leaving Kerguelen to port as well also to starboard

Details

From Lee Bruce at Tactical Weather. “This is probably the most difficult weather scenario that Fedor has faced. Persistent NNW wind has driven Fedor south of east over the past 24 hours. As he approaches KerguelenIsland, the weather pattern will be in tremendous flux. And the forecast has been changing as to the movement of the primary features. If we were dealing just with the weather, it would not be so difficult. But adding the large land and shoaling of Kerguelen adds a very big problem to the mix. I looked at leaving Kerguelen to port as well also to starboard. Heading to the south of Kerguelen would be easier at first, but it places Fedor about 120 nm southeast of Kerguelen as the wind builds from the SSE and SSW (to gale strength)—forcing Fedor toward the island unless he can manage a port tack in that wind and in those waves. And if he can’t, he has no place to go. So that means leaving Kerguelen to starboard. But getting north won’t be so easy. To leave Kerguelen to starboard, Fedor will have to climb steeply to the NNE, and will have to tangle with a fast-moving low. And after all of that, another quick low will run through his area, bringing a threat of easterly wind. But as difficult as the next few days will be, it is better to take this option than to risk it to the south of Kerguelen. The forecast assumes aiming for 48N 64E, even if it means a heading west of north at times:
The forecast assumes aiming for 48N 64E, even if it means a heading west of north at times:

17/00Z: NNW 40-45kt gust 50 becoming NW 20-25

17/06: NW 20-25

17/12: NW 20-25 becoming W to WSW 15kt

17/18: WSW 15

18/00: WSW 15 becoming light and variable

(Hopefully at least as far north as 48 30S and west of 64E)

18/06: Light and variable becoming NE 5

18/12: NE to SE 25

18/18: Low very close by, moving ESE. Becoming S 40 gust 50

Fedor reports that he will follow this recommendation and will work hard to get as much North as possible during next 24 hours.  Light and variable becoming NE 5 – means choppy and confused seas – so weekend will be very unpleasant.



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17.04.2008

Difficult approach to Kerguelen

According to Lee Bruce forecast: “No good opportunity for northing over the coming 24 hours. Strong NW to NNW wind is expected for the entire time. 16/00: NW 30-35 gust 4516/06: NW 40 gust 5016/12: NNW 40 gust 5016/18: NNW 40 gust 5017/00: NNW 40 gust 50 becoming NW 20What worries me most is a N-E strong gale showing to the east and southeast of Kerguelen on the 21st. Fedor will need to work hard at limiting his drift south so that he can pass to the north of Kerguelen and avoid that strong headwind

Details

According to Lee Bruce forecast:

“No good opportunity for northing over the coming 24 hours. Strong NW to NNW wind is expected for the entire time. 

16/00: NW 30-35 gust 45

16/06: NW 40 gust 50

16/12: NNW 40 gust 50

16/18: NNW 40 gust 50

17/00: NNW 40 gust 50 becoming NW 20

What worries me most is a N-E strong gale showing to the east and southeast of Kerguelen on the 21st. Fedor will need to work hard at limiting his drift south so that he can pass to the north of Kerguelen and avoid that strong headwind. And his prize for accomplishing that still could be 50+kt wind—but at least it would be from the west.

Staying north of Kerguelen looks best, preferably no more south than 47S, to avoid the worst shoaling. Even that course should have some headwinds, but the duration would be shorter and less severe than if Fedor passes south of Kerguelen. A very active pattern, with multiple strong lows moving from W to E or NW to SE at 30kt. Planning a route beyond 36-48 hours is tough because of all the variables”.

Fedor reports: “We are sailing in very powerful weather pattern that pushes us to E-E-S”. Sea is getting very rough. The wind force is not a problem but if I sail too close to northern side of Kerguelen I may experience very high seas on shoaling. If I dive to 50 South I get gale force head winds south east of Kerguelen. Not many options. The plan for next 24 hours is to sail as close to the wind as possible but with wind waves boat gets plenty of kicks from the sea and rolling seas crushing on deck.

During the night I had a bit of technical problem. The cover on the spectra furling line chafed and jammed in the block on the bow. I have not noticed it until in the night wind increased to 50 knots and I tried to furl stay sail in – but it was stuck. This 70 sq meters staysail at 50 knots and low temperature feels like piece of hard plywood. Working on the bow in zero visibility with the boat constantly crushing into waves – was dangerous matter and decided to leave staysail open until morning. Later today, I had to pull 30 meters of furling line from the drum, change the ends leaving damaged part in the cockpit. While working I had staysail open, no furling line on the drum, wind steady 40+ knots. Working on the bow and was like riding on wild mustang. Simple job of swapping the ends of line on the furling drum in these conditions and low temperature took 3 hours! Now technical side is under control, but weather is not on our side. Hope Lee will push right buttons and we get better forecast. Regards, Fedor   



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15.04.2008

The boat passed south of Crozet Islands.

At 10: 40 GMT Fedor reported that his position 48,26.21S , 52,19.11E which puts him south of Crozet Archipelago (FrenchTerritory). Quote from Fedor: “The boat keep sailing along side 48 South. I hope the weather will be cooperative and my plan is to sail North of Kerguelen, leave it to starboard. I really would like to avoid going below 50 South as the cold there would be unbearable, it may shortens the distance but brings extreme conditions. Although I have not met any icebergs after Cape Horn, but would not surprise to learn that there are some ice drifting below 50 S and don’t need to take this gamble

Details

At 10: 40 GMT Fedor reported that his position 48,26.21S , 52,19.11E which puts him south of Crozet Archipelago (FrenchTerritory).

Quote from Fedor: “The boat keep sailing along side 48 South. I hope the weather will be cooperative and my plan is to sail North of Kerguelen, leave it to starboard. I really would like to avoid going below 50 South as the cold there would be unbearable, it may shortens the distance but brings extreme conditions. Although I have not met any icebergs after Cape Horn, but would not surprise to learn that there are some ice drifting below 50 S and don’t need to take this gamble. With less then 3.000 miles to Albany I prefer not to risk as simply being in these waters gives a lot of hazards to sailing vessel and solo yachtsman. My task now is to complete ACRT and get to Albany under the sails.

The weather is unstable. Wind is raising and falling from 25 to 40 and back to 25 knots. Very hard to balance the boat. Plenty of exercise on deck. There is no power is the wind flow, the boat is not moving at speed it would normally sail. It looks like we are sailing against current, hope it is temporary. Best regards, Fedor 

 



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14.04.2008

“Fighting cold”

14/04/08 0900 UTC sat phone report from Fedor Konyukhov: “It’s extremely cold here, especially during the night. The temperature drops close to 0 C and with the combined effect of wet air and strong wind it just blows away life from your body. Early morning now and I have a thick layer of white frost on the PBO shrouds! This slightly worries me

Details

14/04/08 0900 UTC sat phone report from Fedor Konyukhov:

“It’s extremely cold here, especially during the night. The temperature drops close to 0 C and with the combined effect of wet air and strong wind it just blows away life from your body. Early morning now and I have a thick layer of white frost on the PBO shrouds! This slightly worries me. PBO fibre is a proven composite rigging and during the past 3-4 years many boats have sailed round the world but I think I’ve spent the longest period of time in low temperature area in the Southern Ocean and no one can guarantee how this cold will affect the composite fibre that holds aloft my 110 ft mast. Working on deck does not warm you up – you’re exposed to the elements and once any job is finished and I’m back in the cockpit it takes hours to get back to normal and stop shivering. All equipment is wet and I don’t have any dry clothes, everything from leather boots to hats is wet and damp. The only source of heat is your own body temperature. The alloy sides of the hull and bulkheads suck out your body heat. I have my last bottle of gas for the gas cooker and have to use it economically as it would be suicidal not to have a hot meal in these conditions. I am very happy with the boat – she is like a race horse or a pack of racing dogs that feel the smells of home and are running steady regardless of the wind. When I say “we” – I mean my boat and me – as I’ve spent enough time sailing her, to be sure she is an animated body, not just hull-mast and sails. The wind is 30+ knots and shifting from N-W to S-W, so we are gibing every 5-6 hours leaving zigzags on the charts. Regards, Fedor”.

 



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12.04.2008

Moscow to port

Report from Fedor: «Last night we crossed 37’30 East – Moscow meridian, now I am staying in the same time zone as my relatives and friends in Russian capital. Although when it is still day light in Moscow, here in the Southern Ocean already dark, as we are late in Austral Autumn and days become shorter and nights longer. Another event happened this night – we passed South of Prince Edward and MarionIslands. FirstIslands in the Southern Indian Ocean. I had to dive South to stay with the wind and also avoid shoaling area near these islands. Here at 47’30 South is very freezing cold! Frost is on deck, can’t touch winch handles without gloves

Details

Report from Fedor: «Last night we crossed 37’30 East – Moscow meridian, now I am staying in the same time zone as my relatives and friends in Russian capital. Although when it is still day light in Moscow, here in the Southern Ocean already dark, as we are late in Austral Autumn and days become shorter and nights longer. Another event happened this night – we passed South of Prince Edward and MarionIslands. FirstIslands in the Southern Indian Ocean. I had to dive South to stay with the wind and also avoid shoaling area near these islands. Here at 47’30 South is very freezing cold! Frost is on deck, can’t touch winch handles without gloves. On the Pilot chart this area is marked as “heavy fog region” and this is correct – very thick fog, visibility seriously affected, less then a mile and worse – very wet air. I have water running from sails mast, deck and even cloth. With low temperature I have now - it creates icy conditions and slippery on deck. These Islands are called “Fogy Albion” and I have not plan to see the islands, but still was looking toward direction of this land. I have not seen any dry land from Cape Horn. A lot of birds today – clear sign that land is near by. We have less then 3.500 miles to Albany – this is transatlantic distance which is very well known to me. Next islands are Crozet and then Kerguelen. The Cape Horn - of the Indian Ocean. The weather can be very rough there. I got my worse storm near Kerguelen in 1991 sailing on board Karaana. I was caught in 7 days storm. The wind was gusting up to 70 knots, no clouds, sun and spray across the surface. Unreal image. I still remember those days. Hope this time we pass around in better weather. The boat is in good shape, all systems working fine. Regards, Fedor   



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10.04.2008

Fedor Konyukhov: “I am already missing this world”

Fedor Konyukhov: “I am already missing this world”. “Yesterday we had one of the best days – steady winds, nice long swell, plenty of albatrosses. I was thinking there are 6 .5 billion people on this planet and how lucky am I to be here in this ocean to witness this beautiful world. I think more people have been into space than have sailed solo in the Southern Ocean. It’s hard to believe but with almost the entire Indian Ocean to the finish line – I’m already missing these latitudes

Details

Fedor Konyukhov: “I am already missing this world”.

“Yesterday we had one of the best days - steady winds, nice long swell, plenty of albatrosses. I was thinking there are 6 .5 billion people on this planet and how lucky am I to be here in this ocean to witness this beautiful world. I think more people have been into space than have sailed solo in the Southern Ocean. It’s hard to believe but with almost the entire Indian Ocean to the finish line – I’m already missing these latitudes. Will I ever sail pass Cape Horn again? Or traverse the South Atlantic again? These are questions I ‘m asking myself – not “how many miles to the finish line” as others may think. I’ve enjoyed every day out here and have this deep concern; if I already miss this environment how will I feel once I get back to Moscow? It’s a life changing experience even for me.  I imagine it can be a great challenge for young sailors who will take part in the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race event in the future and sail this magnificent Antarctica Cup Racetrack.

We are approaching first land mark in the Indian Ocean: MarionIsland and Prince Edward Island. They both located in the OUTSIDE LANE of the Antarctica Cup Racetrack. MarionIsland (46° 54’ 45S - 37° 44’ 37E) Prince Edward Island (46° 38’ 39S - 37° 56’ 36E).

Regards, Fedor

 



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07.04.2008

Report from Fedor

“We are continuing to sail in powerful weather pattern, with wind toping up to 45 knots. Massive swell pushing the boat towards east. Deck light bulb burn down, but I don’t need light in the cockpit – I know every rope by size and texture of the cover. Today switched from AOR-E to Indian Ocean satellite for Sat-C terminal. My Inmarsat mobile number is registered in Indian Ocean. I recon there are another 3 weeks to finish line and even getting close to Albany – I will have to stay below 45 South. It means getting home does not mean getting to warmer waters. I will have to come up sharp from South, just before Albany

Details

“We are continuing to sail in powerful weather pattern, with wind toping up to 45 knots. Massive swell pushing the boat towards east. Deck light bulb burn down, but I don’t need light in the cockpit - I know every rope by size and texture of the cover. Today switched from AOR-E to Indian Ocean satellite for Sat-C terminal. My Inmarsat mobile number is registered in Indian Ocean. I recon there are another 3 weeks to finish line and even getting close to Albany – I will have to stay below 45 South. It means getting home does not mean getting to warmer waters. I will have to come up sharp from South, just before Albany. I can feel as we are getting close to finish – weather getting harder and colder, but we also toughen up sailing ACRT and the boat is good shape. All day rain or wet snow. I can count all sunny days I had. That is OK – will get plenty of sunshine in Albany. I am in good mood – road home. Regards – Fedor"



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07.04.2008

Fedor rounded Cape of Good Hope

This night Open 85 “Trading Network Alye Parusa” crossed longitude of Cape of Good Hope, second time in navigation season (previous crossing was 16 of December 2007). The boat is sailing in powerful storm with gust up to 45 knots, heavy snow and up to 10 meters swell and waves.  Fedor is about to enter Indian Ocean (20East)

Details

This night Open 85 “Trading Network Alye Parusa” crossed longitude of Cape of Good Hope, second time in navigation season (previous crossing was 16 of December 2007). The boat is sailing in powerful storm with gust up to 45 knots, heavy snow and up to 10 meters swell and waves.  Fedor is about to enter Indian Ocean (20East). He reports that it is unusual to sailing twice in the season in the Indian Ocean: normally Atlantic is a transition ocean for yachts sailing around the world from Europe and you have to cross twice this ocean, but since Antarctica Cup stars in Albany, WA, in the Indian Ocean – the boat has to navigate these waters 2 times. The difference is big, as coming back into Atlantic in April-May means you are sailing into the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but traversing Indian Ocean at the same season – brings heavy weather of Austral Autumn.

 



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06.04.2008

Snow, cold wind, big waves - Fedor getting close to Indian Ocean

«The weather is unstable, 25 knots followed by 45 knots of squalls with powerful snow charges. Snow is everywhere: on sails, on deck, in the cockpit, on ropes and winches. Difficult to tune the boat as 25 knots required bigger sail area but sudden gale squalls force me to reduce the sails to minimum. I am runing up and down. Southern wind brought very cold air, it is freezing conditions here! Difficult to work with gloves on deck but without it – hands get red and swollen. According to the forecast from Lee Bruce we will have another day of strong S-S-W winds and waves will build up to 9 meters

Details

«The weather is unstable, 25 knots followed by 45 knots of squalls with powerful snow charges. Snow is everywhere: on sails, on deck, in the cockpit, on ropes and winches. Difficult to tune the boat as 25 knots required bigger sail area but sudden gale squalls force me to reduce the sails to minimum. I am runing up and down. Southern wind brought very cold air, it is freezing conditions here! Difficult to work with gloves on deck but without it – hands get red and swollen. According to the forecast from Lee Bruce we will have another day of strong S-S-W winds and waves will build up to 9 meters. Even now I am experience hard punches from 5-6 meters swell and wind waves. Chill factor is very serious; I have all my cloths on but still can’t warn up. We are late in the season and it is getting worse. Approaching to the boundaries of Atlantic – Indian Ocean, although it is all relevant here – as we are sailing in vast Southern ocean, but it is good to have some way points and marks – keeps me busy.

Today I received questioner from Antarctica Cup management how my daily routine is set up. I don’t have a schedule here, but normally: I sleep 1 hour after every 4 hours watch. Subject to weather conditions my sleep time averaging 4-5 hour per 24 hours. I try to sleep more during the day time, it is warmer and I can relax, the nights are always difficult here with sudden gusts it is easy to bring the boat under control when you awake and in full gear, rather than jumping out of sleeping bag and trying to figure out what happened. So I am an “Owl”. Quite often from sunset to sun rise do not leave nav station, plus I have to monitor area around the boat for icebergs.   

My morning routine starts from boat inspection. First I check deck gear, winches, blocks, standing rigging, running rigging, front stays, rudder tillers, then I go down below and check autopilots, batteries, ballast valves and inlets, engine and generator inlets, water pumps gates, steering cables that go from steering wheels to central tiller. It is very hard to conduct repairs here, my task is to spot the problem before it become a catastrophe. It is not exaggerations – here in the South – I am relying on my boat 100% it is my only protection against brutal conditions outside the boat.  

After the inspection completed it is time for cup of coffee and dry-biscuits. Although sometimes I discover serious wear and tear and begin to replace weak part which may take several hours and then there is no “coffee time”.

Then I get on the helm, switch off autopilots and start generator to charge the batteries. Although if the wind is above 30 knots wind chargers allow me not use diesel generators for 3 days. So, I have plenty of fuel. Both wind-generators working fine and I have “sustainable energy”.

Then after couple hours on deck, weather permitting time to cook something hot. Normally I have oats, porridge, and rice with raisins or spaghetti. I have some fish and meat tins but they are tasteless. I stock up the boat in Falmouth UK, Cape Town RSA, Albany Western Australia – but food is all the same. With mega brands dominating around the world – you don’t get now local flavor. With globalization we have now – all products are under the same standards and under the same name. This is boring and the world losing its individuality. In 100 years we may all become one big country. Here looking at albatrosses every bird is different, every wave is different, and every sunrise is unrepeatable. We must keep our uniqueness and be different. I like quote from Jon Sanders: “Why live ordinary life – be original”. It is great philosophy. Not necessarily you have to sail around the world, but be original in what you are doing, art, music, science, and even business.

Well I the wind is shifting to South and I have to go on deck to trim sails. Talk to you later. Regards, Fedor

Forecast from Lee Bruce - Tactical Weather:

Lots of SSW to WSW wind for the near-term, and the long-range outlook has mostly WNW or NW wind for 8-11 April, so no headwinds are suggested between 45-50S for the coming week.  For the next 36 hours, wind speed should average 30-35 gust 40-45.  Waves in the strong SW/WSW wind should be in the range of 6-7m, occasionally 8-9m.

06/00-12Z: SW/SSW 30-35 gust 40-45kt

06/12: SW 30-35 gust 40-45

06/18: WSW 30-35 gust 40-45

07/06: SW 30-35 gust 40-45

 



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