The latest report from S/Y Katharsis II
It’s the 5th day on the sea and 835 miles since we’ve set the sail.
Position at: 28 Dec 2017 09:15 UTC
Lat/Lon: 44° 35.95 S, 028° 40.51 E
Speed: 8.8 knots @ 155.26°
The first day of sailing with rather feeble wind. Just like in many homes, Katharsis II crew was getting ready for the Christmas dinner joined by everyone. On Christmas Eve we decorated a small Christmas tree, prepared red borsch and mushroom soup and decked out the table with whatever Neptune provided. Just before the scheduled dinner, the wind began to gather strength, reaching more than 25 knots, what forced us to replace the white linen tablecloth with anti slip mats. Despite that it was a truly festive evening. The crew shared the wafer aboard a yacht lapped by ocean waves. Many tears rolled down our cheeks…
Traditionally, we had an extra plate on the table for the traveller (who did not make it this time) and 12 dishes. With the headwind reaching 35 knots, not everyone was able to try all of them, but all crew members sat together at the table. The first day of Christmas brought a headwind of 35 knots. Such conditions, especially at the beginning of the journey, leave you with limited options in the caboose and discourage the crew from eating. Instead of spending time at the Christmas table, sailors were busy tending to sails and taking the helm. But such Christmas has also got its unforgettable charm!
Captain Mariusz Koper’s coverage via satellite:
“We put to sea on Saturday, 23 December 2017 just after 8 am. All members of the crew were bursting with joy and sighting with relief – finally, after more than a year – and some of us were gearing for this moment much longer… We were waved off by a group of friends. There was hardly any wind. I was afraid that we would have to blow at sails to cross the official start line. But just before 9 am a light breeze filled the sails, what enabled us to effortlessly sail past entrance breakwaters in Cape Town at 08.56 hours local time. Having sailed less than a mile, the wind died down and our ordeal began. We managed to sail at a speed ranging from 2 to 4 knots with wind at 3-6 knots, while the northern wind forced us to make several manoeuvres. This way, the beginning of our expedition barely resembled a race. Frustrating sailing continued for the first 24 hours and to make things even worse, the mild wind was often changing direction. Meanwhile, the sea was surging up. In such circumstances the sails cannot be filled as they are getting headwind every now and then. But later the wind stiffed slightly as we were sailing past the Cape of Good Hope after dusk, what allowed us to sail at regular speed for two or three hours. We also broke a unique record – Katharsis II clocked in the shortest 24-hour distance in its history – merely 70 nautical miles.
The wind finally set around 10.00 on Christmas Eve. I think the distance covered over the next 24 hours will be in check with what Katharsis II has got us used to, that is, around 200 nautical miles. We are now sailing at around 10 knots, but will be soon forced to reef sails. We are in for the first stronger wind during our expedition. The weather during preparations for the voyage was exceptionally stormy. An extensive anticyclone centred southwest of Cape Town. Travelling eastbound, the high encountered resistance of the land, what led to compression of air masses near the shores and prompted violent storms winds blowing along the coastline of the Cape of Good Hope. This promised not a very enjoyable beginning of our voyage as we had to brave violent wind for several days. Friday brought fairer weather for a while and the ultimate change of conditions. This meant a different struggle with weather and coping with light wind.
I assume that we will spend more than two months on Antarctic waters. We have to be completely self-sufficient and rely exclusively on ourselves which is why we have done our best to make sure the yacht doesn’t let us down during this polar expedition. Time does not come first, but is the key for us. We set the sail at the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere. We want to reach the Weddell Sea, or the most berg-filled waters on our route in the mid-February 2018 when there should be least ice. But this means a race against time to reach the Antarctic waters we need to cover to close the loop before they freeze in March…”
Greetings from the Southern Ocean en route to the coastal waters of Antarctica
– from Katharsis II crew
We have just received a video report with lowdown on the start of the expedition of S/Y Katharsis II. Watch the kick-off of this unique Expedition: https://youtu.be/UPK0m-BlRYQ
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