Antarctica Cup: Fedor Konyukhov crosses the Cape of Good Hope Meridian

Monday, 07 April 2008


Day 71: Fedor Konuykhov ticked off another major mile stone overnight, passing the Cape of Good Hope (18° 28E longitude) during his solo circumnavigation of Antarctica. 'Iceberg ally', as the South Atlantic Ocean has been called this season, is also behind him, but the 56 year old Russian adventurer, trailblazing an inaugural record around the Antarctica Cup Racetrack from Albany, Western Australia and back aboard his 85ft yacht Trading Network Alye Parusa, is currently enduring a freezing blast from the South.

Fedor reports: "I am about to enter the Indian ocean (20°E) but sailing in a powerful southerly storm with gusts up to 45 knots, heavy snow and 10 meter swells. These southern winds bring very cold air. It's freezing!

I sleep for one hour after every four hours watch. My sleep times average a cumulative 4-5 hours every 24. I try to sleep more during the day when it is a little warmer and I can relax a bit. The nights are difficult. With sudden gusts it's easier to bring the boat under control when I am fully awake and wearing my storm gear rather than jumping out of the sleeping bag and trying to figure out what has happened. From sunset to sun rise I'm an 'owl' not leaving the navigation station, and continually monitoring the area around the boat for icebergs.

My morning routine starts with a boat inspection. I check deck gear, winches, blocks, standing rigging, running rigging, rudder tillers, and then I go below and check autopilots, batteries, ballast valves and inlets, engine and generator inlets, water pumps, steering cables, and more. It's very hard to conduct repairs here; my task is to spot a problem before it becomes a catastrophe. I rely on my boat 100% since it is my only protection against the brutal conditions outside. I man the helm, switch off the autopilots, and start the generator to charge the batteries. If the wind is above 30 knots the wind-driven generators allow me to rest the diesel generators for three days. I have plenty of fuel. Both wind generators are working fine and give me a 'sustainable source of energy'. After a couple hours on deck, , it's time to cook something hot, weather permitting. Normally I have oats, porridge, or rice with raisins or spaghetti. I have some fish and meat tins but they are tasteless. I provisioned the boat in Falmouth, Cape Town and Albany but regardless of the country of origin, the food tastes the same. With globalised brands dominating the world you don't get local flavour. This is boring and the world is losing its individuality. In 100 years we may all become one big country.

Down here in the Southern Ocean, every albatross is different, every wave is different, and every sunrise unrepeatable. We must keep our uniqueness. I like the quote from Australian solo circumnavigator Jon Sanders: "Why live an ordinary life -- be original". It's a great philosophy. It's not necessary to sail around the world but be original in what you are doing, in art, music, science, and in business.

I am approaching the boundary where the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet. It's good to have the Antarctica Cup Racetrack gateway points to keep me busy with Gate 14 just ahead.

Regards, Fedor

Bob Williams
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Last Updated ( Monday, 07 April 2008 )