Fedor Konyukhov

Fedor reported forth iceberg on route.

Sat phone session from Fedor:

«Another large iceberg in position 54,57.73S and 122,43.75W. It becomes very scary to sail in these waters. The situation is also complicated by Cape Horn ahead. Icebergs are great threat to the boat and to avoid or minimize this thread I need to come up North, but instead I must sail south towards Cape Horn, Drake Passage is the only gate for me to get into Southern Atlantic Ocean. I need to dive South for another 150 miles to clear the Cape and I was progressing S-E all night until we met number 4 berg. Now with head winds we have from E-S-E, I tacked and coming up NN-E until wind shifts to west.

Lee Bruce wants us to be on 56 South by tomorrow to have best set up for Cape Horn, but I am holding on 54-55 South due to the “ice conditions” as 10 mm alloy plate on my boat is not best shied from compressed ice. When I met 1 berg, I was exited this was something new and different shape on the horizon. 2 and 3 berg brought some safety concerns and today’s berg gave me confirmation that we are in the belt of drifting ice from Antarctica and we are surrounded by drifting ice. It looks like the bergs are traveling N-E and we are crossing their way sailing S-E.

Now I can assure you that it is very hard to spot the berg on the radar. All 4 were spotted visually, only then I switched “On” the radar to find the distance. Even when I knew where the berg was at that moment, still on the screen it was not very clear and hard to visualize. In the storm, in high seas – chances very slim to spot the berg on the radar.     

I never experienced that many icebergs during my previous 3 round the world sailings. When you are in the storm – you have forecast with wind force, direction, wave height and period. With the bergs – it is a lottery. Am I lucky?

How about nigh time? Like yesterday – it was pitch dark, fogy and rain. With 1 million candle torch I could hardly see the bowsprit which only 15 meters ahead. The chance to spot the berg 100 meters ahead with this torch – was zero.

According to the Routing Southern Pacific chart – we only approaching to the boundaries of zone of drifting ice but the map is some 10 years old and with global warming this map in not valid any more. In my expeditions and sailing projects I am witnessing global warming in full scale. Last Spring in Greenland at the finish stretch of dos sled expedition on the west coast we had to travel 10 kilometers over the rocks and gravel, although a decade ago this area was covered by think ice Cap and glacier was dropping directly into the ocean. Here in the Southern Ocean I can see that Antarctica is loosing its ice shield rapidly and in large scale.  Any way – here we are on 54 South with 1.700 miles to Cape Horn, 10 knots of wind from S-E and confused sea and icebergs jumping out every morning. Regards, Fedor”

Forecast from Lee Bruce (Tactical Weather Ltd)

“As the low passes north of Fedor, the wind will fill in from the SW quadrant for a couple of days, before shifting to NNW ahead of the next front on the 2nd of March. As the wind shifts over the next several days, Fedor should find that his position is near 56S. That is OK, since we need to have him near 57S for the Cape Horn passage.  But given the recent iceberg sightings, that is not a position that allows for relaxation no matter the weather. The problem is that to be far enough north to lessen the iceberg threat puts Fedor too far north to reliably make a heading for passing Cape Horn. Aiming WP:  55 30S 115 00W

By 29/06Z: SW to WSW 20-25kt

29/12: SW 20-25

01/00: WNW 15

01/06: SW 13-18

01/18: WSW 15