The Final Stretch (See video: The Antarctic Circle)
26 March 2018, KatharsisII, Southern Ocean
Position: 57º49’29” S, 104º27’09” E, 93 days and 14,000 nautical miles from the Expedition’s port of departure
Greetings from the deck of Katharsis II from skipper Mariusz Koper and his crew. Having closed the Antarctic loop on 20 March in continuous navigation south of the 62nd parallel, s/y Katharsis II left Antarctic seas, and for the past week has been sailing slightly warmer waters of the Southern Ocean, gradually moving away from the ice-bound continent. For some days now, the Katharsis II has been recording excellent daily runs upwards of 200 nautical miles.
As reported by skipper Mariusz Koper during a conversation over satellite, everyone is weary but happy that the main purpose of the Expedition has been achieved. Yet the finale – reaching the harbour in Hobart and completing the journey – still lies ahead. According to readings of 26 March 2018, they have been travelling non-stop for 93 days, covering a distance of approximately 14,000 nautical miles since leaving Cape Town on 23 December 2017. Another 1,900 nautical miles left before they reach Hobart.
Mariusz Koper: from the deck of Katharsis II
The joy of reaching our goal of closing the Antarctic loop blended in with relief. From that moment on, we could start thinking of leaving waters full of icy hazard. We continued sailing north-east to the 58th parallel. Consequently, not only did we leave Antarctic waters behind – we also found ourselves in optimum sailing conditions, within two consecutive low pressure patterns. In the southern hemisphere, low pressure winds blow clockwise. Our first pattern dropped from the north. We managed to sail into its western area and take advantage of south-western winds. The other pattern was (and still is) rather vast. We are travelling its northern regions, close to the centre. We continue enjoying favourable western winds, which allow us to swiftly cross mile upon mile. Storm winds remain at a slight distance to the north. The longer this lasts, the better. Regrettably, we have to continue watching out for iceberg obstacles. We are still sailing in the Antarctic convergence zone, bergs dissolving slowly in its cold waters. We encountered 4 icebergs on course over Sunday only. We need another few days before reaching warmer and safer waters.
We expect to reach Hobart, Tasmania between 4 and 7 April. Yet at sea, in the “roaring forties and furious fifties,” no date is cast in stone. So far, we have had excellent daily runs upwards of 200 nautical miles. Yesterday, on 25 March, we broke our daily run record for this trip: 252 nautical miles. Keep your fingers crossed for us – the final stretch lies ahead.
Watch our video from deck, and the moment of completing the Antarctic Loop…
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