Fedor Konyukhov

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 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