Fedor Konyukhov
enru
22.03.2008

Passing North of South Georgia

Open 85 “Trading Network Alye Parusa” has sailed over 9.000 n. miles alongside Antarctica Cup Race Track and currently passing 350 miles north of South GeorgiaIslands. Fedor reports that last two nights were cloudless and full Moon perfectly lights the Ocean. This is the first time he can observe the full Moon from the start, as usually the skies are grey and low. The weather is stable and in general – conditions are good for Southern Ocean. Fedor is well into the sailing routine and after he spent several weeks below 55 South with extreme temperatures and everyday snow, he now enjoys sailing conditions above 50 South

Details

Open 85 “Trading Network Alye Parusa” has sailed over 9.000 n. miles alongside Antarctica Cup Race Track and currently passing 350 miles north of South GeorgiaIslands.

Fedor reports that last two nights were cloudless and full Moon perfectly lights the Ocean. This is the first time he can observe the full Moon from the start, as usually the skies are grey and low. The weather is stable and in general - conditions are good for Southern Ocean. Fedor is well into the sailing routine and after he spent several weeks below 55 South with extreme temperatures and everyday snow, he now enjoys sailing conditions above 50 South. The fixed rudder is holding OK and Fedor’s main concerns now are the icebergs. He is getting close to the area of A53 mega iceberg location (giant iceberg A53a that split into two 30 kilometres long icebergs on 10 March 08) and keeping close lookout for icebergs around the boat. So far – none of the berg has been seen. All is fine on board the yacht and Fedor is in great mood.   

 



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19.03.2008

Sat phone session with Fedor.

“It’s been a fruitful day for me. In the morning we received our regular weather forecast from Lee Bruce which suggested 20+ knots of steady wind all day. The weather looked cooperative for the rudder repair and there was no precipitation which will allow working with epoxy, so I decided it’s now or it’ll be too late. Problem in brief: The tiller on each rudder has two locking bolts, one at the end tightens the tiller around the rudder stock and one in the middle centers the tiller to the rudder. This central bolt failed around Cape Horn and the tiller was moving around the rudder stock

Details

“It’s been a fruitful day for me. In the morning we received our regular weather forecast from Lee Bruce which suggested 20+ knots of steady wind all day. The weather looked cooperative for the rudder repair and there was no precipitation which will allow working with epoxy, so I decided it’s now or it’ll be too late.
Problem in brief: The tiller on each rudder has two locking bolts, one at the end tightens the tiller around the rudder stock and one in the middle centers the tiller to the rudder. This central bolt failed around Cape Horn and the tiller was moving around the rudder stock. Every mile added more stress and carbon dust was all over the transom indicating that the tiller was chewing the rudder stock away. With two oceans ahead to the finish line I must fix it. The only way for me to find out what’s wrong is to take the tiller apart. Frankly speaking, I had a lot of concerns and hesitation as taking a steering device to pieces deep in the South Atlantic Ocean is not big fun with a positive result not guaranteed. What if I won’t be able to put it back together? It’s like trying to repair a part of a plane wing while flying at 30.000 feet!
@@apos@@Open 85’ yacht ‘Trading Network Alye Parusa’ weights 30 tons and her rudder is very solid and heavy. I had to disconnect the rudder which weights 70 kg and has a draught of 1.7 meters and make sure it wouldn’t slip or crash turn at 90 degrees angle to the boat. Firstly I decided to work on starboard tack with the boat heeling over to port with the damaged rudder sitting out of the water. But this proved to be the wrong approach as the disconnected rudder flipped to a dangerous angle and waves were hitting it badly. So, I reassembled it, gibed and put the damaged rudder in the water and under pressure. I then drilled an additional hole through the rudder stock and poked a screw driver through to create a strut which I lashed with spectra ropes to rail stanchions, the mainsheet traveler, and the push pit. Once the rudder was secured I switched off the autopilot as there was no need for it, took the tiller off, and found why the central bolt snapped. The stainless steel sleeve we installed in Albany was too long and it restricted tightening the tiller around the rudder stock. Basically I was compressing the sleeve but not tightening the tiller. I pulled the sleeve out and shortened it by 5 mm. Then I cut a plastic bottle in half and put two sides around the rudder stock to beef it up to get more grip wrapping it up with epoxy.
Meanwhile the boat was sailing on port tack with the port rudder out of the water and the starboard rudder locked in the central position keeping the boat on course. I managed to balance the boat with the sails and she sailed a perfect straight line. It was like she could feel the importance of the moment for the well being of us both and that I’m treating her like an ill patient and that she must be well-behaved. Unfortunately working on the leeward side freezing cold water constantly splashed over me but thank God it was not raining. The day passed very quickly with running from stern to cabin, charging the hand drill, mixing epoxy, changing broken blades for the metal hand saw. It was plenty of physical exercise and fresh air. It’s 10 meters from the navigation station to the stern of the boat. I think I ran a good 5 kilometers. Unusual for a solo sailor that spends most of the time locked in the 2 x 3 meter cockpit.
Once I tightened the bolts heavy rain arrived but the job was done. I was back inside the boat and the kettle was on.. I will not say that it’s a perfect job and I don’t much care for how it looks but taking into account the conditions I don’t think we did too bad a job. I just hope it will last to Albany.
After almost 10 hours on deck, I really needed a good rest but that was not the case. Around midnight we sailed into very powerful turbulence. All of a sudden a squall arrived with heavy rain and very cold air then five minutes later a flow of much warmer air came and this contrast continued for at least one hour. In the meantime lightening was hitting the ocean around the boat. The sky was dramatic with lightening both vertical and horizontal between the clouds. It looked like ‘The End of the World’ and the combined noise of the heavy rain, gusty winds, and thunder was frightening. I was looking at my mast – a 110 ft carbon fibre pipe - sticking up into the air and the highest point in this wild pattern. Although the boat has ground wires it’s all theoretic. We’ve never been hit by lightening before and being here deep in the South Atlantic 7,000 miles from the finish line the last thing I needed was a high voltage current flow experiment. It was very unusual and more likely to happen in the tropics but not in the Deep South. The wind was spinning like crazy and I was trying to follow the shift until I realized that we were going in circles and damaging the main sail which already has two cracks. So the main came down and the staysail half furled. It took another hour for NW wind to fill in. My foul weather gear is completely soaked, there was chaos in the cockpit with the mainsail on deck. I was busy till sunrise bringing things to order. That’s all for now. We just had another exciting day in the Southern Ocean sailing the Antarctica Cup Racetrack. To end I would like to thank Bob Williams and Mark McRae for providing me with various options and ideas how to fix the rudder and also for encouragement. Regards, Fedor Position: 48,24S - 46,29W”.

 

 

 



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18.03.2008

Fedor heading North to the new Way Point

“Fedor passed first mark on ACRT to avoid iceberg zone: 50 South and 50 West. This waypoint was given to indicate north-western boundaries of iceberg spread in March 2008. From this moment Fedor is monitoring area around the boat as close as it possible for a solo sailor. Meanwhile Antarctica Cup management suggested 2 more Way Points: 47 South – 40 West and 45 South – 30 West. This will gradually bring the boat to the Outside Lane other words to the Northern boundaries of Antarctica Cup Race Track.  Message from Fedor: “Good morning. It is cold and dry morning here on 50 South. It is not raining and sun is breaking though clouds

Details

“Fedor passed first mark on ACRT to avoid iceberg zone: 50 South and 50 West. This waypoint was given to indicate north-western boundaries of iceberg spread in March 2008. From this moment Fedor is monitoring area around the boat as close as it possible for a solo sailor. Meanwhile Antarctica Cup management suggested 2 more Way Points: 47 South - 40 West and 45 South – 30 West. This will gradually bring the boat to the Outside Lane other words to the Northern boundaries of Antarctica Cup Race Track. 

Message from Fedor:

“Good morning. It is cold and dry morning here on 50 South. It is not raining and sun is breaking though clouds. Good visibility. We are heading 030 COG, although I would want to see more easterly heading. Jibed several times, but on another tack we sailed 110 COG. This would be alright if not Iceberg Warnings, so for now my only option is to try to sail as much east of north as possible. This move up North will add more miles to our track, as the difference between INSIDE Line and OUTSIDE Line is 11.600 and 14.600 respectively.

Today looks like a possible day to conduct the repairs on the rudder. Wind 20-25 knots, sea state 2-3 meters waves, not the best, but you can’t expect flat calm in “Furious Fifties”. At least it is not raining – very rare moment indeed. I am drying all my gear, including sleeping bag. Well not drying, let’s call it – ventilating. Few hatches also opened to get rid of condensation inside the boat. Today I again checked my food supplies – nothing exciting: tins, dry food, rice, spaghetti. I only have several plastic boxes with food and I can name the content by memory, but still searching for something fresh and tasty. May be there is something on the bottom of the box that I missed during my previous search. Keep 360 degrees lookout for icebergs – so far only ocean swell, the horizon is leveled. Sailed 8.500 n/miles from Albany. Fedor”  



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18.03.2008

Fedor reports serious rudder problem.

Fedor reports that a bolt connecting the starboard rudder to an above deck tiller system, new when he left Albany, failed off Cape Horn which he replaced with a new spare bolt which has in turn failed after only a few days in service. Fedor is improvising a repair but how effective the repair will be remains to be seen. Race control and Fedor@@apos@@s shore team are monitoring the situation closely.Oscar Konyukhov reports on his conversation with Fedor:"I spoke to Fedor 12:00 UTC. He said that headwinds are gusty and powerful 30-35 knots. Fedor is sailing close-hauled (030) under main sail only to reduce drift to the west

Details

Fedor reports that a bolt connecting the starboard rudder to an above deck tiller system, new when he left Albany, failed off Cape Horn which he replaced with a new spare bolt which has in turn failed after only a few days in service. Fedor is improvising a repair but how effective the repair will be remains to be seen. Race control and Fedor@@apos@@s shore team are monitoring the situation closely.

Oscar Konyukhov reports on his conversation with Fedor:

"I spoke to Fedor 12:00 UTC. He said that headwinds are gusty and powerful 30-35 knots. Fedor is sailing close-hauled (030) under main sail only to reduce drift to the west. The forecast suggested a shift at 0900 UTC, but at 1200 UTC the wind is still from the NE..
Fedor thinks that is because he is moving NW with the front but not through it.
The problem we have now is that the starboard side rudder tiller fixing is damaged. The bolt that fixes the tiller to the carbon pole from the rudder is shredded. Fedor needs a period of light winds, flat sea, some sunshine to conduct repairs. He needs a dry day to work with composite material and flat sea to disconnect the rudder from the tiller. Not something you would want to do at 50 South. We are threatened with a stopover in Cape Town which is a very bad scenario for everybody if it comes to that. Fedor will do his best to conduct repairs in the Ocean. He is confident that he can repair the problem subject to the weather and ocean status. He said that right now it is heavy rain, fog, squalls, waves crashing on deck and God knows what - anything but the break of sunshine we hoped for.

Later during the night we received Sat-C message from Fedor that wind shifted to N-W allowing him an N-E heading although boat is crushing into N-E winds waves. During prolonged period of headwinds sometime gale force Fedor lost 60 miles in his East progress and now will catch up the pace. In the morning he will try to conduct repairs on the damaged stbd rudder fixation. He needs to fix it soon before the last bolt on board of this size is not badly damaged and before heavy weather arrives as he is still sailing on 50 South and weather can worsen rapidly.



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16.03.2008

Busy weekend in the Southern Atlantic.

16 March 08. 1200 UTC Sat Phone Sched with Fedor – Busy Weekend in the South Atlantic.“The Falkland Islands are 200 nautical miles astern. Passing through this part of the South Atlantic Ocean gave something new to my daily routine. The boat was surrounded by all sorts of marine life. The changes came as soon as were over Burdwood Bank south of the Falklands. It was unusual to read 50-80 meters under the keel after we had average 5,000 meters since the New Zealand shoals. The waters here are booming with life; plenty of albatrosses, I had around 15 of them following my yacht, polar dolphins, whales. The ocean has a strong smell of sea weed

Details

16 March 08. 1200 UTC Sat Phone Sched with Fedor - Busy Weekend in the South Atlantic.

“The Falkland Islands are 200 nautical miles astern. Passing through this part of the South Atlantic Ocean gave something new to my daily routine. The boat was surrounded by all sorts of marine life. The changes came as soon as were over Burdwood Bank south of the Falklands. It was unusual to read 50-80 meters under the keel after we had average 5,000 meters since the New Zealand shoals. The waters here are booming with life; plenty of albatrosses, I had around 15 of them following my yacht, polar dolphins, whales. The ocean has a strong smell of sea weed.
On Saturday morning my Active Echo Radar detector sounded with an alarm buzz which means the AER received a radar wave signal from another vessel. I found a vessel on my bow starboard side on a collision course. I transmitted over the radio my call sign and notified that I’m a solo sailor heading for Western Australia. The officer on watch recognized my accent and asked if I am Russian. Second question he asked was – “Are you Fedor Konyukhov…?” I was puzzled and ask him why? He responded “who else can be here Deep South on a sailing yacht and talks Russian?” We had a nice chat over the radio – the crew is from St. Petersburg. They are working on a ship that is re-supplying South GeorgiaIsland and the South Sandwich Islands for the coming winter. Now the ship is heading back to Montevideo. They told me they had very rough weather a few days ago which was no surprise to me. It was good to talk to your country mates when you are half way away from home.
On Saturday evening I heard Japanese speech on VHF channel 16. I checked the radar – 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 miles – nothing. The area is clear. Just in case I put over the air my standard radio call and suddenly I could see a clear mark on the radar three miles on my port side. I ran on deck – it is a Japanese fishing base over 100 meters in size. They responded to my radio call and changed heading. Five minutes later they disappeared from my radar screen as sudden as they appeared.
After you have not seen any vessels for weeks – two ships within 24 hours looks like we are in a heavy traffic situation.
We have a hectic weather pattern with the wind going in circles. Today I should experience head winds from SE. Regards Fedor”.



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14.03.2008

Fedor passes half-way point of Antarctica Cup Racetrack

Fedor crossed longitude 62W – half way point of the Antarctica Cup Racetrack at 1400 UTC 13 March 08 and is now heading for Albany. By this time maxi yacht “Trading Network Alye Parusa” sailed 7.800 n. miles which means total distance for Fedor in Antarctica Cup Race Track 2008  will be above 15.000 n

Details

Fedor crossed longitude 62W - half way point of the Antarctica Cup Racetrack at 1400 UTC 13 March 08 and is now heading for Albany. By this time maxi yacht “Trading Network Alye Parusa” sailed 7.800 n. miles which means total distance for Fedor in Antarctica Cup Race Track 2008  will be above 15.000 n. miles.

In the meantime Antarctica Cup race control and Fedor@@apos@@s shore team are collaborating to determine the best strategy for Fedor to navigate above @@apos@@Iceberg Alley@@apos@@ the extensive field of icebergs that stretches from east of South Georgia Island across to south of South Africa which are thought to be fragments off the giant iceberg A53a (47k x 14k) located to the east of South Georgia Island that recently split in two.



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13.03.2008

No time to celebrate

Sat phone session with Fedor Konyukhov: "Here we are – sailing in the rough Southern Atlantic. After a very nasty farewell from Pacific we had few hours only to catch our breath before we got severe gale welcome from Southern Atlantic. At the moment we have 45 + knots with gusts up to 55. I had a few questions from one of the Russian journalist: How did I celebrate passing Cape Horn? What brand of Champaign I had and did I cook nice meal. That was a spot on questions. I have not slept for more then 40 hours, basically from the moment we entered Drake Passage – the weather conditions were so bad I could not get even a short nap

Details

Sat phone session with Fedor Konyukhov:

"Here we are – sailing in the rough Southern Atlantic. After a very nasty farewell from Pacific we had few hours only to catch our breath before we got severe gale welcome from Southern Atlantic. At the moment we have 45 + knots with gusts up to 55. I had a few questions from one of the Russian journalist: How did I celebrate passing Cape Horn? What brand of Champaign I had and did I cook nice meal. That was a spot on questions. I have not slept for more then 40 hours, basically from the moment we entered Drake Passage – the weather conditions were so bad I could not get even a short nap. From DiegoRamirezIsland I was on constant watch, approaching Cape Horn. Although near Cape Horn wind eased off – you do not get a sleep when Cape Horn is on your port side within 10 miles. Right after Cape Horn we ended up in choppy seas and with dry land near by I was afraid to fell a sleep, so had to keep my self awake with coffee. So I missed my Champaign time and dried bananas with mug of coffee was the only meal for last 48 hours. The boat is sailing on autopilot and my body is on autopilot too. How I wish to stretch on white liners and have proper 3-4 hours of sleep! This will be so refreshing. Sailing in these extreme conditions gives you appreciation how people are spoilt by comfort which we do not even appreciate and take it for granted. Here Deep South even basic things like hot shower and 3 hours of interrupt sleep – sounds like a luxury.

We are currently at 55’45S and 63’50W heading N-E to the way point. The task is not easy – come up north until reach a way point 50 South - 50 West to avoid zone packed with icebergs. There will be a lot of gybing, wet and windy hours on deck for the next few days, with FalklandsIslands on my port side – there will be little time to rest. Fedor”

Forecast from Lee Bruce (Tactical Weather Ltd)

“The satellite picture suggests squalls in the area near Fedor but some breaks of sunshine.  However, a heavier bank of clouds is moving in from the WSW. And more very strong wind should arrive after about 13/03Z. Suggest route that stays close to Falklands if possible, to set up for forecast north wind on the 15th. For Fedor to leave 50S 50W to starboard, he will need to limit easting. To accomplish that, he will need to gybe either side of a line toward about 52S 57W (and maybe farther north than that; we will adjust as needed).  So it is not ideal, and we will have to see how Fedor fares over the next two days.  It may be difficult for him to stay out of the yellow caution zone of the Center Lane.
13/00Z: WSW 35kt gust 45-50kt
13/06: WNW 45 gust 60
13/12: WSW 45 gust 60
13/18: SW to SSW 35 gust 45
14/00: SW 30-35



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12.03.2008

Fedor Konyukhov rounded Cape Horn

12 March 13:45 GMT Open 85 yacht “Trading Network Alye Parusa” sailed south of Cape Horn and entered the South Atlantic Ocean.From Fedor “It is very emotional to stay here on deck and see this massive rock which is a milestone for my journey around the Antarctica Cup Racetrack. The approach was very difficult. The ocean was indescribably wild and powerful. My 30 tons boat was dragged like a tree leaf, the waves were hitting us in the port rudder, the stern and in the starboard rudder. There was no place to hide as waves were coming from N-W, W, S-W

Details

12 March 13:45 GMT Open 85 yacht “Trading Network Alye Parusa” sailed south of Cape Horn and entered the South Atlantic Ocean.
From Fedor “It is very emotional to stay here on deck and see this massive rock which is a milestone for my journey around the Antarctica Cup Racetrack. The approach was very difficult. The ocean was indescribably wild and powerful. My 30 tons boat was dragged like a tree leaf, the waves were hitting us in the port rudder, the stern and in the starboard rudder. There was no place to hide as waves were coming from N-W, W, S-W. On the approach to DiegoRamirezIslands one of two Raymarine autopilots burned down, (I think it was a motor), the boat lost control turned on the wind and got such an impact that I thought we would lose bow and mast. I took me half a minute to sort things out with the burnt out pilot and switched to the reserve unit. Things began to improve 20 miles to Cape Horn. After a terrible night all of a sudden we have a stunning sun rise with some sun breaks! It was a greatest gift possible. Visibility improved and I can see Cape Horn 15 miles on my port side. It took me another hour to get close enough to see the Cape in all its beauty. This is the first land I have seen from Albany! On the VHF – channel 16- Chilean fishermen are talking to each other. It is such a great thing to hear someone on the radio! I am not alone in this Ocean!   The fourth time for me proves to be lucky – I can finally see Cape Horn from the deck of my boat. That was my dream. In my 3 previous roundings – but it always happened during the night.
I’m 56 and don’t know if I will have a chance to see Cape Horn again, but with four successful passages around – I think it is enough for me. I’m satisfied and feel complete in the way that we reached the Everest of the Ocean. Although this time it is a special rounding – we are not heading north towards the Equator but will stay in the Southern Ocean for another 8.000 miles to Albany. Fedor Konyukhov, on board Trading Network Alye Parusa, Cape Horn”.

4 Cape Horn passages of Fedor Konyukhov (solo)

31 December 1990, 36 ft yacht “Karaana”,

17 March 1999, Open 60 “Modern University for the Humanities”

09 April 2005, Open 85 “Trading Network Alye Parusa”

12 March 2008, Open 85 “Trading Network Alye Parusa”



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12.03.2008

Storm is intensifying.

12 of March, 08-00 Perth Time, message from Fedor:  “The storm came sudden and very hard on us, I was hoping that it will gradually build up, but around six hours ago wind picked up in one of the gust and not dropping below 50 knots with gusts 65 knots. It looks like all Hell break loose: pitch dark, snow, the ocean is completely covered in foam, the water spray is in the air. The noise on deck is enormous – it is like we are in the wind turbine. The waves are short and traveling very fast – like a train. The boat is surfing from the waves and hitting front waves. I had to reduce sails to minimum in order to stay in pace of the ocean

Details

12 of March, 08-00 Perth Time, message from Fedor: 

“The storm came sudden and very hard on us, I was hoping that it will gradually build up, but around six hours ago wind picked up in one of the gust and not dropping below 50 knots with gusts 65 knots. It looks like all Hell break loose: pitch dark, snow, the ocean is completely covered in foam, the water spray is in the air. The noise on deck is enormous – it is like we are in the wind turbine. The waves are short and traveling very fast – like a train. The boat is surfing from the waves and hitting front waves. I had to reduce sails to minimum in order to stay in pace of the ocean. The feeling - we are in the high altitude stream and the water is roaring and running east. Crossed 70 West longitude – we are in the Drake Passage now, with 50 miles to go to Cape Horn, hope to round by the morning. Will contact you later. Fedor”



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11.03.2008

200 miles to Cape Horn.

Today a sat session between Russian Polar Station “Novolazarevskaya” in Antarctica and Russian yacht “Trading Network Alye Parusa” sailing Antarctica Cup Race Track was arranged.  Fedor Konyukhov received a phone call from Vice-Premier Minister of Russian – Mr. Sergey Ivanov who is currently visiting Antarctica with the mission to check polar stations for winter season and also testing GLONASS satellite position system (A Russian version of GPS). Fedor informed Mr. Ivanov about Antarctica Cup main highlights and that he is 200 miles west of Cape Horn

Details

Today a sat session between Russian Polar Station “Novolazarevskaya” in Antarctica and Russian yacht “Trading Network Alye Parusa” sailing Antarctica Cup Race Track was arranged.  Fedor Konyukhov received a phone call from Vice-Premier Minister of Russian – Mr. Sergey Ivanov who is currently visiting Antarctica with the mission to check polar stations for winter season and also testing GLONASS satellite position system (A Russian version of GPS). Fedor informed Mr. Ivanov about Antarctica Cup main highlights and that he is 200 miles west of Cape Horn. Minister wished him best of luck, safe journey and proposed to have an official meeting in Moscow in May 2008.

Meanwhile Fedor reported that he is experiencing “typical” Cape Horn weather. “All is well on board my good ship, not counting damaged main sail. The wind is gusty from 25 to 40 knots, with snow charges. Hard to trim the sails, but we are getting there and I am happy with what we get so far – I remember much worsen conditions for my previous rounding. The visibility is bad and this is my major concern. I have Radar set for 6 miles Alarm zone – it seems it is the best range for my Furuno unit. With the boat diving in between the swell the radar is sending false Alarm and each time it is like a cold shower - I am jumping on deck if it is a day light or zooming in on the screen if it is night time. So far – plenty of alarms or false alarms but I can not confirm any iceberg visually. Frankly speaking I can define the border between ocean and sky – it all looks like one grey blanket. I hate to say it being Russian but we are playing a Russian roulette here.  

I can feel that the boat is also getting ready to see Cape Horn, she is now well balanced and handles easy – we both focused. The tension is rising. It is like we are getting ready for the fight, your adrenalin is getting high: Cape Horn ahead. The plan is still to leave Diego Ramirez to port. Regards, Fedor”.

 



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