Strong headwinds and more icebergs for Konyukhov

Day 65: 30 more large icebergs have been located within the outside lane of the Antarctica Cup Racetrack by the latest satellite sweep across the South Atlantic Ocean – just where Russian Adventurer Fedor Konyukhov is heading towards on this trailblazing record attempt around Antarctica.

C-CORE, the Canadian iceberg tracking agency, which is providing this information in this little used section of the ocean specifically for the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race organisers, report the nearest to be located at 45°32’S, 10°67’E with more icebergs 90 nautical miles further south. Fedor, who has been facing 40-55knot NNE head winds for the past two days, which have forced him further south, asked: 'If these are confirmed, how many more unconfirmed icebergs are there. Is this a bad joke? If not, then these head winds have come just at the wrong time.'

Early today, the 56-year-old Russian sailor reported from his 85ft yacht Trading Network Alye Parusa 'The last 24 hours were extreme in many ways. First we had up to 55 knots of head winds that pushed the boat down to 46° South. The seas built up significantly and my ‘dry boat’ had plenty of water on deck and in the cockpit. I furled in the staysail and brought the boat as close on the wind as possible, but still we were heading SE on 135°-140° - straight towards the iceberg location!

Then, later in the morning the wind dropped from 50 to 10 knots and I thought I would get seasick. The waves were chaotic, bumping and crashing onto the boat. I wasted time trying to put some sails up, but with this big swell and light winds we were not moving. The top of the mast was flying 10m from one side to another. Balancing on deck was like being in circus arena. It was pure frustration.

I have still to cross the Greenwich Meridian! I thought I would be in the Eastern Hemisphere 2 days ago but once again the oceans have brought some corrections to my schedule.

If this was not enough, a massive humpback whale suddenly surfaced 15 meters from the side of the boat emitting a terrifying sound and splash. If that had been at the night – someone could have had a heart attack! I’ve been beaten by 50+ knot head winds, monstrous waves, have the constant threat of icebergs - and finally this giant mammal is rubbing shoulders alongside my boat. That is enough for one day!'

Surprisingly, Fedor has found that he is not alone in this usually barren sector of the South Altantic Ocean. Two British adventurers, Rob Gauntlett and James Hooper are sailing across the same waters with a 7-man crew as part of a marathon 22,000-mile man-powered journey between the North and South Magnetic Poles. Sailing aboard the schooner Blizzard, the left Stanley in the Falkland Islands on March 3, bound for the South magnetic Pole and Sydney, Australia. Charting a course along the 48°S latitude, they crossed the Greenwich Meridian on March 17, having sailed right through the centre of ‘iceberg alley’. Miraculously, they did not spot their first berg until close to the Prime Meridian, despite satellite data indicating over 2,500 large icebergs scattered across this section of the South Atlantic.

Fedor, who has already been to both North and South Poles, shares another accomplishment with these British adventurers, having also climbed Mount Everest.

Now they are sharing iceberg sightings. You can follow Blizzard’s story on www.180degrees.co.uk

Dateline: 23:15:00 UTC 31. 03. 08
Position: 46°25.20'S 4°27.66'W Course: 95° Speed: 7.9knots Distance run since start: 10444.2 nm
http://www.sail-world.com/43156