Wow, what a place. Few people have sailed the Southern Ocean and you can see why.
It's crazy. For all members on board this was going to be a new experience.
Skipper has sailed in the Indian Ocean to the north, but never this low down.
After a gentle introduction, it soon hotted up and we were into 30,40,50,60 knot winds. As we decreased sail plan to suit, you could see the boat coped well and we pushed on. As one of the helmers on board, taking the wheel, in pitch black, with 60 knots of breeze and waves, literally as big as houses, coming at you from all directions was certainly an eye opener. During the day, you can see the landscape of mountainous waves stretching to the horizon and it is spectacular.
It's also scary, very scary indeed.
Linking back to my day job, I hate off road driving. I can drive any car as fast as I can around a test track no issues. I can try and roll them over, make them slide, basically be a complete hooligan with them and I don't blink an eye. Off road however, you are never fully in control. If you hit some mud on a down hill section, you can correct, but you are still a passenger until the vehicle regains traction. Helming down here is similar. You can't steer where you want all the time as the waves have so much power. You go where they take you and you correct in the middle. It's horrible and incredible all at the same time.
Everything is damp now, putting wet foulies on every watch is now the norm, we are due to get some good sailing for the next few days, so we should be able to dry stuff out and get set again ready for the next interesting windy section.
During the big wind sections we sustained some damage to the boat including our SatCom aerial, which wanted to leave the boat sooner rather than later. We saved it but now we are using a secondary system which means media has to wait.
Therefore there will be limited blogs, photos and videos coming off the boat. The weather data is more important!
So in summary, we are all well and good on board. As a typical GB crew we are still laughing about the situation and working as a team to get it done. The cups of tea come out and trying to get in in your mouth when you have 40 knots of wind on you is one of the biggest challenges!! Scared at times, but pushing ourselves to our limits every day. This is why we signed up to the race of our lives right?
/span>br />Ben Pate