Day 63. Past Halfway

07 February 2019

My dear friends, I have reached an important milestone in my journey.  The “AKROS” and I have passed the halfway point from New Zealand to Cape Horn in the Southern Ocean.

According to the onboard computer, I have travelled (logged) 5,555 kilometres.  That’s in total.  If you were to draw a straight line from the starting point to my current coordinates, you will find I have travelled 4,125 kilometres.  So I’ve travelled 1,430 “superfluous” kilometres.  I have travelled the distance from Moscow to St. Petersburg and back for a warm-up.  This has been my main source of disappointment with the Southern Ocean.  I knew that it would be cold and wet, and that I would have to withstand many storms, but I had not counted on so much extra travel.  I had thought the Westerly winds and currents to be more constant and drag me East.

When I was passing through the trade-winds from Chile to Australia in 2014, my average speed was something like this: if I was rowing the speed was 3 knots, when I wasn’t – 1.5 knots.  Strong favourable currents and waves pushed the boat along.  But here if I don’t row, the boat stays still or drifts East at 0.5 knots.  When I row, I travel at 1.5 knots.

I did not expect it to be like this despite my experience travelling through the Southern Ocean.  After all, I am making this route for the sixth time (the first five times I travelled by yachts).

For reference:

1990-91 – Circumnavigating the globe aboard the Yacht “Karaana” (Sydney-Sydney, Australia)

1998-99 – Around the globe race “Around Alone” aboard the Yacht “SGU” (USA – RSA – New Zealand – Cape Horn – Uruguay – USA)

2005 – Circumnavigating the globe on the Yacht “Alye Parusa” (England – Tasmania – Cape Horn – England).

2008 – Sailing around Antarctica – Antarctica Cup (Albany – Albany, Australia)

2009 – Delivering the yacht “Alye Parusa” from New Zealand (Auckland) to the Falkland’s Islands.

Thank God I am alive and relatively well.  On a journey like this if you get sick, you aren’t going to get better, but at the moment my constitution is coping.  My age isn’t getting in the way; actually it would be difficult for a younger man to withstand such conditions: drifting in the wrong direction, treading water, and travelling extra miles – it is all very difficult to withstand psychologically.  Of course, it is difficult physically, but far more difficult mentally.  You have to have patience on voyages like this.  Humility and fortitude are very important here.

From now on I know that the distance covered will grow while the distance to the finish diminishes.  I do not know at what speed, but experience tells me that the second half of the voyage will be even more difficult.  With every day the boat and I will go further South toward Cape Horn and Antarctica.  And if the average temperature is currently 10 or 12 degrees Celsius, then at Cape Horn’s latitude it is 6 degrees.

I was asked to briefly summarise the first half of the voyage: I would say it was difficult to start with and then grew more and more difficult.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me, and caring for and supporting me.

Fedor Konyukhov

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