Radio session with Fedor Konyukhov over the Iridium Sat phone

31 January 2008

Greetings from Southern Ocean! All is well on board the maxi yacht “Trading Network Alye Parusa”. Wind shifted to N-W 15-20 knots and we have opportunity to sail south on stbd tack towards the Race Track and the Entry gate.

It is drizzling for 24 hours non stop. Sky is grey and there are plenty of squally clouds. Just a few hours ago I was caught by sudden hard gust up to 35 knots. We had full main and solent. That was very unpleasant. The boat broached to port. I have double reef lines on the main sail. So it is a long process of taking reefs on my boat. It took me 15 minutes to reef the main, by that time the squall had gone. I though about reducing sail area, but was not sure. As Francis Chechester said: “if you think for the second time about taking the reef – perhaps already it is too late”

This is one the biggest challenge when you sailing maxi yacht by your self – you need to power up the boat, but keep things under control and be prepared to reduce sails at any time. For example when squall came I was inside working with water maker. I was not prepared. It will be interesting to talk to Barcelona skippers about sailing routine they had during the trace, even 2 people on board makes big difference.  

North wind brought some warm air; it is not as cold as it was yesterday, although we are got several degrees towards Antarctica. 

While weather is cooperative I am inspecting the boat from bow to the stern, make sure all is functioning properly before we get into heavy weather. The days are passing very quickly here. You always busy sailing a big boat. People often ask me if I get bored or how I “kill time” while sailing solo. These are strange questions to me – in fact I am running out of time when sailing 85 ft boat solo. Today I run water maker, tighten steering gear, replaced furling line on the staysail (it was chaffing in the furling drum), plus wind was shifting, gusts and so on. And then it was sun set. The day is gone.

That is all for now.

Regards, Fedor

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