05 January 2021 - 07:18 • 10164 views

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Joined at 0400hrs UTC this morning, the skipper of Apivia looks back on his experience in the big South and explains the complex weather situation in the South Atlantic.

 

“It's a beautiful night of sailing now the sea has calmed down. We have a starry sky with a moon, it's a very beautiful night! I was still at the end of the Falklands wind shadow but here I just found some wind, I'm hitting 24 knots. That short period with a little less wind allowed me to recover well, to take some nice naps. It's cool, I'm in good shape!

The high pressure is complicated. I've been over and over it I think the high will pass over me at some point. Nothing is obvious. I do routings to find a solution. I hope I have one, but we'll see in 24-48 hours. It’s a moving high pressure system, not like a northern hemisphere high. It moves and so the strategy is not obvious. I'm going to do the best I can, in any case I'm motivated, upbeat, ready to fight on this Atlantic climb. There are 6,500 miles left, I'll give it my all until the finish.

The advantage of Thomas' course is that he should not be hampered by the high pressure, but he will have a lot of upwind sailing. The thing is that the routes are dictated by our positions at that particular moment. An option can work for one and cannot exist for the other. These systems are fluid. Options open and close differently for each other. We find ourselves in a zone where strategy and placement are important, except that forecasts change dramatically. The situation is very complex and the files are not very accurate at all.

It is still 8 degrees outside, 10 in the boat, these are the last cool nights. It will start to heat up quickly. Yesterday I had up to 14 degrees in the boat. My clothing will get lighter as you go north. It's nice after living 40 days in the 40s.

The big South is a special place. It's hostile, there is always sea, wind, more wind than you think. The wind is heavy, powerful because it is cold. It was a great experience: the permanent change of time and the tiredness, the depressions which follow one another, it is a jumble of feelings to be in the middle of nowhere, far from any civilization. I spoke to a fishing boat at the beginning of the Indian ocean, it was the only one that I met in the whole South.

For 30 days, I saw no sign of human life. We forget our life before the south, just as we forget the life before the pandemic. I forgot about life before the Southern Ocean.  The other boats no longer existed, the land no longer existed. You are in an endless world of water. It is unique in the world to be in a place where the closest people are the astronauts. Right now the contrast is stark like when I spoke with the lighthouse keeper a the Horn, I saw a British RAF plane that flew over me, and now the maritime traffic reappears. It is reminiscent of the movie Waterworld. I feel like I'm coming back from a water world where the land was a fantasy. I come back from another planet. I've been through things that I wouldn't have experienced anywhere else, obviously that will have an influence on me."

Charlie Dalin / Apivia