Fedor Konyukhov

Day 84

Fedor’s phone call at 08:00 (Moscow time) Sunday: “I’m hanging in here. The last 24 hours were stressful. I’ve hardly slept. The wind is vile, with the squalls up to 35 knots. It switches its direction from north-west to north without any warning. The seas don’t have time to adjust. To top it off, the rain is drumming constantly at the surface of the ocean. Tons of water are dumped every minute flattening the waves. The wind is warm, from the equator. I can feel its hot breath. I hope this storm will wrap this heat and take it away from here towards the South Pacific. The coming of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere will hopefully become more apparent, bringing calmer weather and cooler air.

Last night was particularly challenging. The head wind of 25 knots kept pushing me towards the islands and there was nothing I could do about it. I was heading straight to the Mataiva atoll. Working on oars was difficult, at times impossible. The swells and chaotic waves were too much to deal with.

I set the boat on course with the centerboard and the rudder and ballasted the starboard. I tried to hide in the cabin where the temperature is +39 C, according to a thermometer. The ceiling and the walls are growing mold right in front of my eyes.

There is no sun, so the main accumulators are down. I had to switch to a reserve battery, but it wouldn’t start. The on/off switch is broken.

Thankfully,  back in Chile we bought two switches. I removed the broken one from the accumulator and installed another one as best as I could given the circumstances. This project would have to wait until calmer weather.

Right now, it’s the middle of night. The wind is turning east and I’m turning west. What a joy it is to see my course back at 240 degrees. I’m so tired of seeing the 180 and 170 degrees course. The weather prognosis is promising: the wind should be gone into the east. God willing, I’ll be able to pass the islands at a good distance.  My goal is to have the islands and atolls at the port side, including the Bellinghausen atoll (Motu One). If this is too ambitious, I must at least try to keep Bora Bora and Uturoa at the port side. In my experience, you don’t want to pass the islands too close; it's good to keep good separation. The last 24 hours proved that if the wind decides to change and blow from the north-west then the boat turns south, or even south-east right way. With such strong head wind, I’m incapable of changing the course. As of right now, I’m all right and the boat withstood the storm. Praise be to God. I’m with you. Fedor."

With the help of the Chilean Search and Rescue authorities, we were able to contact French Polynesia maritime services asking them to provide Fedor with regular weather updates. Here is a summary of the weather report received from the coastal services of French Polynesia: Herewith local marine forecast for next 12 hours in vicinity of Fedor location:

1- north-west Tuamotu Islands area:
wind: North 16/20 kt. gusts 25/30 kt, moderate sea, showers.

2- Tahiti and west Tuamotu Islands area:
wind: North to Northwest 16/20 kt increase tomorrow 20/24 kt
gusts 35/40 kt, moderate to rough sea, showers and thunderstorm risk

3- Leeward Islands area:
wind: Northwest 16/20 kt increase tomorrow 20/24 kt
gusts 35/40 kt under grains, moderate to rough sea, showers and
thunderstorm risk

Best regards.

BP 9420 – 98715 Papeete CMP
T?l : (+689) 54.16.16 - Mobile : (+689) 75.75.47
Fax : (+689) 42.39.15
Iridium : +881 641 425 630 - Inm-C: 422 799 192

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski