The Final Stretch (See video: The Antarctic Circle)
26 March 2018
FINISHING LINE Katharsis II Polish Antarctic Sailing Expedition Completed
5 April 2018

KATHARSIS II, Damage incident on deck

30 March 2018, 97th day of the journey, 14,800 nautical miles from the departure in Cape Town
Yacht’s position: 53º50’59″S, 127º13’00″E, Southern Ocean

Special news from the deck of s/y Katharsis II

KATHARSIS II, Damage incident on deck

At dawn on 30 March 2018 (06:45 yacht’s time UTC+8, 00:45 Polish time), Katharsis II suffered major damage to its mainsail when sailing the Southern Ocean in storm conditions, on position 54º20’57″S, 125º37’35″E, approximately 1,000 nautical miles south-west of Hobart, Tasmania.

The yacht Chinese-gybed when violently tossed by an exceedingly tall wave. Despite the helmsman’s efforts to control the yacht, the wind crashed into the mainsail from the reverse direction. As a result, Katharsis II suffered a fractured boom – permanent damage to a component indispensable to the correct operation of the mainsail. A detailed check proved that the yacht’s remaining rigging is fully operational and the journey may be continued, albeit with the use of foresails only. No crewmember was hurt in the incident.

During a satellite call, skipper Mariusz Koper reported:

“… The damage resulted from active sailing in storm conditions. Travelling at a speed of over 10 knots, we remained in full control of the yacht despite tall and steep waves. We were running free, mainsail at third reef. Regrettably, a rogue wave hit us aft from a direction entirely different to other waves; the helmsman’s delayed reaction caused the yacht to Chinese-gybe at full speed and with an immense load to the mainsail, as a result of which the boom’s preventer broke. In a swift swerve, the boom crashed into rigging on the yacht’s other side. Fortunately, the rigging took the impact well, saving the mainmast. But our carbon fibre boom – robust but not impact-resistant – is now fractured and will have to be replaced. We cannot repair it here and now; nor can we reinforce it sufficiently for use in storm conditions. We are now using our foresails only – which means that our speed will drop by a third or more if we are forced to travel into the wind. The most important thing is no crewmember was injured. Also, such serious damage has proven that Katharsis II is a seaworthy yacht capable of delivering us to the planned destination, even without its mainsail…

We are not giving up! We are still on our way! Keep your fingers crossed…”

Following the successful completion of the Antarctic loop on 20 March 2018, skipper Mariusz Koper with his crew of 8 aboard Katharsis II has begun the final leg of his journey – the distance to Hobart. Thanks to favourable weather patterns, sailing was swift, and Katharsis II recorded daily runs of over 200 nautical miles. Having bagged the success of charting a new marine route around Antarctica in her coastal waters south of the 62nd parallel as the first sailors in the world, the crew of Katharsis II have been preparing to break the absolute speed record of circumnavigating the continent; the previous record of 2008 was set for a route further north (between the 45th and 60th parallel). If Katharsis II reaches Hobart in 5 days, the record will be broken.

Regretfully, without its mainsail Katharsis II will have to slow down, reaching her final destination in 6 days. According to requirements of the international World Sailing Speed Record Council who are overseeing the journey with the use of a dedicated tracking system and via their start and finishing line judges, the whole route has to be covered under sails only.

Present circumstances mean that until the end of the current non-stop journey from Cape Town to Hobart, Katharsis II will have to do without its mainsail and will use her  foresails only. Arrival to Hobart, originally planned for the evening of 4 April local time (morning of 4 April Polish time) will now be delayed by approximately 24 hours. Having already covered around 14,800 nautical miles, the crew of Katharsis II have another 1,000 miles before reaching Hobart.

Text by JJC


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *