Fedor Konyukhov

Sat session with Fedor Konyukhov.

Greetings from Pacific. These were our first 24 hours in this GreatOcean. Pacific is my favorite ocean – it was always kind and generous to me and I hope it will let us through again. Indian - is like a young wine – sharp, playful, unpredictable you never know what will happen next 2-3 hours. In fact during my four previous round the world sailing – all major breakage and biggest storms I had in Indian Ocean

We got to the scheduled Way Point of 50 South and 150 East. There are “Furious Fifties” latitudes and here will spend most of the time sailing Antarctica Cup Race Track. Although we have only 10 knots of wind, but the same time tomorrow it will be 40+ knots from N-N-W.

Today we had plenty of activity around the boat: a pack of Humpback whales crossed our way and went up north into Tasman Sea. Later I spotted small group of dolphins. More and more albatross are circling around the boat. We are close to the Antarctica Convergence zone where warm waters meet cold waters from Antarctica. I guess it is good feeding area for all life in the Southern Ocean.         

With the southern wind we had for several days – the air flow is very cold. I don’t have a thermometer on board and it is hard to give accurate readings, but I left plastic bottle with drinking water on deck in one of the rope pockets and this morning it was full of ice chunks. So, the outside temperature is 0 or even minus. Cold factor will play major part in this sailing.

When I skied to the South Pole in 1996 the lowest temperature I had on the Ice Cap of Antarctica was – 53C but it was very dry air, very dry and firm snow (like sans) and all you have to do is keep walking to keep you body warm. You walk for 8-10 hours then you stop, put a tent up and in 10 minutes you have your primus on and you are in the sleeping bag. Nice and warm. Everything is dry. When you are sailing in Antarctica waters and working in the cock-pit under wet snow, drizzle with waves crushing on deck – quickly you get wet. This is biggest problem out here – freezing temperature, strong wind and you are in wet gear. Once you got wet – you can’t dry out. Salt water will not evaporate. I think I felt more comfortable on the Ice Cap with -50C but dry. 

Briefly speaking: we got to the Pacific, crossed 50S, entered Gate 3 (Wilkes) on Race Track and sailed 2.000 miles from Albany. I planed to reach Gate 3 in 10 days after the start. We should be here 2 days ago – that put us 48 hours behind the schedule. Frankly speaking from the start we had only 1 day of good westerly flow. All time we spent in the Indian Ocean we had up wind, no wind or wind clocking 360 within 24 hours. I hope that here in Fifties we finally get much needed stable westerly flow.