Fedor Konyukhov

Snow, cold wind, big waves - Fedor getting close to Indian Ocean

«The weather is unstable, 25 knots followed by 45 knots of squalls with powerful snow charges. Snow is everywhere: on sails, on deck, in the cockpit, on ropes and winches. Difficult to tune the boat as 25 knots required bigger sail area but sudden gale squalls force me to reduce the sails to minimum. I am runing up and down. Southern wind brought very cold air, it is freezing conditions here! Difficult to work with gloves on deck but without it – hands get red and swollen. According to the forecast from Lee Bruce we will have another day of strong S-S-W winds and waves will build up to 9 meters. Even now I am experience hard punches from 5-6 meters swell and wind waves. Chill factor is very serious; I have all my cloths on but still can’t warn up. We are late in the season and it is getting worse. Approaching to the boundaries of Atlantic – Indian Ocean, although it is all relevant here – as we are sailing in vast Southern ocean, but it is good to have some way points and marks – keeps me busy.

Today I received questioner from Antarctica Cup management how my daily routine is set up. I don’t have a schedule here, but normally: I sleep 1 hour after every 4 hours watch. Subject to weather conditions my sleep time averaging 4-5 hour per 24 hours. I try to sleep more during the day time, it is warmer and I can relax, the nights are always difficult here with sudden gusts it is easy to bring the boat under control when you awake and in full gear, rather than jumping out of sleeping bag and trying to figure out what happened. So I am an “Owl”. Quite often from sunset to sun rise do not leave nav station, plus I have to monitor area around the boat for icebergs.   

My morning routine starts from boat inspection. First I check deck gear, winches, blocks, standing rigging, running rigging, front stays, rudder tillers, then I go down below and check autopilots, batteries, ballast valves and inlets, engine and generator inlets, water pumps gates, steering cables that go from steering wheels to central tiller. It is very hard to conduct repairs here, my task is to spot the problem before it become a catastrophe. It is not exaggerations – here in the South – I am relying on my boat 100% it is my only protection against brutal conditions outside the boat.  

After the inspection completed it is time for cup of coffee and dry-biscuits. Although sometimes I discover serious wear and tear and begin to replace weak part which may take several hours and then there is no “coffee time”.

Then I get on the helm, switch off autopilots and start generator to charge the batteries. Although if the wind is above 30 knots wind chargers allow me not use diesel generators for 3 days. So, I have plenty of fuel. Both wind-generators working fine and I have “sustainable energy”.

Then after couple hours on deck, weather permitting time to cook something hot. Normally I have oats, porridge, and rice with raisins or spaghetti. I have some fish and meat tins but they are tasteless. I stock up the boat in Falmouth UK, Cape Town RSA, Albany Western Australia – but food is all the same. With mega brands dominating around the world – you don’t get now local flavor. With globalization we have now – all products are under the same standards and under the same name. This is boring and the world losing its individuality. In 100 years we may all become one big country. Here looking at albatrosses every bird is different, every wave is different, and every sunrise is unrepeatable. We must keep our uniqueness and be different. I like quote from Jon Sanders: “Why live ordinary life – be original”. It is great philosophy. Not necessarily you have to sail around the world, but be original in what you are doing, art, music, science, and even business.

Well I the wind is shifting to South and I have to go on deck to trim sails. Talk to you later. Regards, Fedor

Forecast from Lee Bruce - Tactical Weather:

Lots of SSW to WSW wind for the near-term, and the long-range outlook has mostly WNW or NW wind for 8-11 April, so no headwinds are suggested between 45-50S for the coming week.  For the next 36 hours, wind speed should average 30-35 gust 40-45.  Waves in the strong SW/WSW wind should be in the range of 6-7m, occasionally 8-9m.

06/00-12Z: SW/SSW 30-35 gust 40-45kt

06/12: SW 30-35 gust 40-45

06/18: WSW 30-35 gust 40-45

07/06: SW 30-35 gust 40-45