Fedor Konyukhov

Open 85 Alye Parusa is fighting her way to the finish in complicated headwinds conditions

Fedor Konyukhov: «Strong headwinds not allow to us to progress towards the finish at all. Both boat and I hate this kind of situation. Worse progresses from the start – 36 n/miles in 24 hours! Even in dead calm the boat with 16 ft draft was carried by current at 3 knots and we had 60 miles. Southern Ocean has decided to test us to very limit. The conditions are most unfavourable. The wind is shifting from N to E and them to South and back every 3-4 hours. Imagine the boat is gradually changing its COG from 110 to 180 in 2 hours. From 180 we tack, but wind waves prevent us from sailing N-E and we crawling to 010 COG. Sea state is complete mess. Looks like boiling water in the pot with W swell and E wind waves. Smooth long west swell is gone – I have foamy shampoo type water around the boat. Sunshine, 40 knots of head winds and barometer reads 1037!

As soon as I reported my ETA to Albany to my shore team and they booked their flights – the boat hit the wall and not moving. Do not say when you get there, until you get there (Russian proverb).   

The forecast is very bad: head winds for another 24 hours, light head winds followed by strong NE-N winds. Is there any justice in the world? Why do I need this test of endurance after I spent 3 months below 45 South? I consider my self as tolerant sailor who takes things easy, but with nearly empty gas bottle, limited provision, wet cloth from socks to hat, blue fingers as a result of cold and 87 day in alloy hull and freezing water of Southern Ocean –conditions far beyond from SPA treatment – I begging to lose my patience. It is become difficult to find motivation to stay focused and be happy. Even in these conditions there is no question why ocean throws all this, but only if made right decision and could I avoid these conditions by sailing Deep South few days ago. Any way, I can’t park the boat, get into the taxi and ride home – to get to finish I have to negotiate this weather pattern. Regards, Fedor 

Position: 46,5.12S , 74,45.21E
Speed: 6 knots, Course: 25 deg.
UTC Time: 22. April 2008 20:08


Fedor’s wind should be clocking to SE for a time, before backing through E and NE as it weakens and becomes NNE and increases.  So I suggest that he try for some northing again as the wind clocks. As for the timing:  Fedor can start the northing as soon as he feels that the wind and seas will support a course that has some north in it, but avoids much westing.

Fedor should be able to climb back north of 47S before heading ESE again in freshening NNE wind, and might even get close to 46S. 

22/00Z: ESE 25-30

22/03: ESE 20-25

22/06: ESE/SE 20

22/12: SE 20

22/18: SE 10-15

23/00: ESE 5-10 becoming NE 5

23/06: NE 5 becoming NNE 15

23/12: NNE 15

23/18: NNE 25

24/00: N 35 gust 45

24/06: N 40 gust 50