Fedor requests 'water, no ice please'

Chart Track 27-02-2008
Day 60: Fedor Konyukhov, the Russian solo yachtsman trailblazing a record circumnavigation around the Antarctica Cup Racetrack is calling for 'water...no Ice' today after learning of icebergs as high as 45°S that are threatening his route across the South Atlantic.

C-CORE, the Canadian iceberg-tracking agency, can detect bergs as small as 100m in size and has warned of one at 45°S 8°W, the same latitude that Fedor is sailing along. The problem for Konyukhov is the millions of bergy bits and growlers that will have broken off these mega icebergs and drifted further north, which neither the satellites nor the radar on Fedor's 85ft yacht Trading Network Alye Parusa' can pick up.

Race organisers based in Albany, Western Australia, the start and finish point for this record attempt, have already closed the inner lane of this 3-lane Racetrack between 55-60°S because of the thousands of bergs now drifting northwards from the Ross Sea. Today, they have issued a Temporary Rules Relaxation applicable to SECTORS 11 and 12 of the Racetrack and have instructed Konyukhov to adopt a Waypoint of 44°S, 10°W. This requires Fedor to sail outside the northern boundary (45°S) of the OUTER LANE for a period of time. The next mandatory Waypoint is 45°S, 0°W/0°E (Prime Meridian).

Fedor will not incur time penalties whilst sailing under these instructions. Race Control anticipate receiving more iceberg tracking data today to assist the monitoring of iceberg presence on the Racetrack and may issue further instructions at a later date.

Fedor said by Sat Phone on 25 March 08, 0800 UTC:

'You wouldn’t believe it but here at 47S in the South Atlantic Zone of the Racetrack it’s as cold as it was at 57S in the South Pacific Zone. I wonder what kind of temperature I would have experienced if I’d have stayed alongside the INSIDE LANE after Cape Horn? I’m sure I would have had to scrub the deck from ice. No surprise that this area is packed with icebergs – the water temperature is close to zero.'

'With NW winds life is better – warmer air and moderate swell, but as soon as the wind shifts to SSW it is getting extremely cold. Its refrigerator cold and even 20 knots of wind creates an uncomfortable chill factor. Plus we are sailing late in the season. It’s the Austral Autumn season here and I can feel the difference.'

'It’s quite stressful knowing that there are icebergs around and even though I’ve not seen one – with the data provided by C-CORE it gives a very clear picture that from 30W to 15E – we will have to sail with great caution to avoid floating ice. I feel like I’m on a minefield – no room for mistake. In the night I try not think what is ahead of ‘Trading Network Alye Parusa’s’ bow. Because I’m telling you this now – it means I’m thinking of it. It’s in my head and it drives me crazy. It’s hard to switch to a different subject.'

'I remember watching a Sir Peter Blake film about their round the world sailing on the ENZA catamaran. The title of the film was very laconically – 'No Latitude for Error & No Good Calling for Mum'.

Well, this is exactly the situation we are in now. We are in the Southern Atlantic Zone in the area of ‘relative inaccessibility’ from both South America and the South Africa MRCC with numerous confirmed icebergs passing through. We are 1000 miles from the Greenwich meridian – once we cross it – we are back in the Eastern Hemisphere – 118 degrees to Albany.'