Fedor Konyukhov, the Russian adventure sailor currently trail-blazing a record circumnavigation around the Antarctica Cup Racetrack, is facing his second Force 11-12 storm in a week.
Currently some 2,500 miles from Cape Horn, the 56 year old solo yachtsman reports from his 85ft (27m) yacht 'Trading Network Alye Parusa': 'The ocean surface is white, driven by the strong winds. It seems that this westerly flow of wind will stay strong all the way to Cape Horn.
The forecast shows a strong, fast moving Low just ENE of my position. I am riding on the back of this Low and plan to hold on to the system for as long as we can. It's a favourable situation for me because there is no chance that the Low will pass over my boat, as the previous one did a week ago.
The wind is blowing from the SSW, bringing even colder air from Antarctica. It must be close to 0°C now but I don't have a thermometer on board. I'm using radar to spot icebergs and had one situation a couple of nights ago when it looked like a solid reflective surface at position of 54° S and 149°W. I bore away a few degrees until we cleared this dot on the screen. There was definitely something floating there. I have had SW winds for prolonged periods of time so there is a risk of an iceberg being blown up to 54°S. From here to Cape Horn, the chances of seeing icebergs is quite high.
Yesterday, I fried my last three barn eggs from Albany. They were a tasty reminder of quality food you enjoy on dry land. From now on it's dry food, rice, spaghetti, and tinned fish. I'm not a big fan of freeze-dry food. I ate a lot of it during past trips to the North and South Poles.
It's light but not very tasty, but when you are pulling a 140 kg sled to the South Pole every gram of weight matters. Since my yacht 'Trading Network Alye Parusa' has a gross tonnage of 56 tons, a few more cans will not affect performance. Right now a piece of grilled chicken would go down very well.'
Regards, Fedor Dateline: 10:30 UTC 25th Feb 08
Position: 54° 11'S 134°37'W
Course: 87° Speed: 8.2 knots
Distance covered: 5058 n.miles. Last 24hr run: 186.3 n.miles The forecast from weather router Lee Bruce does not make good reading:
The long-range outlook suggests headwinds for Fedor by the 28 th Feb . Luckily, those will be short-lived and relatively light (at least no gale). And if the long-term forecast is correct, Fedor would have to go well north—all the way to 51°S—to avoid all headwinds. That's not a good idea, considering that he needs to be south of 56°S to clear Cape Horn.
Granted, Cape Horn is a long way off, but now is not the time to take a big swing north, because there is no place to go if you get stuck too far north. Fedor should be able to put some more south in as the wind shifts, and I used 53 45S 135 00W as a WP (but Fedor can be anywhere between 53S and 54 30S at 135W, without any problems).
The strong wind for the 25th Feb extends more than 100 nautical miles north and south of Fedor, so there is no escaping it.
25 Feb 08 /00 00 UTC : WSW 45-50 knots gusting 60 knots
25 Feb 08 /12 00 UTC : SSW 35-40 knots