Port Cape Town V&A Waterfront
23.12.2017 – sail yacht Katharsis II with Captain Mariusz Koper and his (all-Polish) eight-man crew aboard has left Cape Town in South Africa, embarking on the Antarctic voyage to sail non-stop around the Earth’s coldest continent as close to its shores as possible along and south of the 60th parallel south. No sailing yacht has ever followed this route to circumnavigate Antarctica.
The venue and the start date in Cape Town as well as coordinates of the scheduled finish in Hobart, Australia, have been agreed with and approved by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) in England. S/Y Katharsis II has sailed past the start line that symbolically extends the main breakwater entrance to the port in Cape Town with coordinates – 33º53’51.6 S and 018º26’04.1 E – on 23 December 2017 at 08:56:20 hours local time (UTC: 06:56:20), or 07:56:20 Polish time.
The weather was truly exceptional for the Cape of Good Hope (formerly Cape of Storms). The yacht was passing the start line in light 8-knot northern wind. Katharsis II crew was setting off in warm African sun. The course of the yacht at start line was 280 degrees.
The crew is ready to take up the challenge and all its members are bursting with positive energy. There is palpable enthusiasm on the deck! We were bade farewell by our friends from Cape Town on land and the crew of breast cancer survivors aboard Mujaji Dragonboat on sea who sailed side by side with Katharsis II across the port. Unmooring and embarking on the voyage was a moving moment for the entire crew.
Captain’s last words at unmooring
„… it’s not the record that matters, it’s the achievement of goals we have set that comes first – see you in Hobart”
There is a chance for a new Polish sailing world record. The scheduled attempt has been designed to meet the requirements of WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council) and the Guinness World Records (GWR). The current circumnavigation exercise – sailing around Antarctica as close to the ice-bound continent as possible in the record-breaking time comes as a natural consequence of achievements and experience of Captain Koper whose credits include completing the Northwest Passage and sailing to the Bay of Whales, the southernmost point on the Antarctic Ross Sea which is open to navigation for just a few weeks each year.
The official sailing record for circumnavigation of Antarctica, but further away from the continent between 45 and 60 degrees of parallel of south latitude, computed from the start until the finish line in Australia, stands at 102 days. Captain Koper’s crew plans to complete the challenge much faster.