Race 3 - Day 14
Crew Diary - Race 3 Day 14: Cape Town to Fremantle
14 November

Clive Haswell
Clive Haswell
Team Sanya Serenity Coast
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Southern Ocean – not what it said on the wrapper

CV27 is about halfway across the Southern Ocean Leg. This is the patch of the world's ocean's notorious for huge rolling seas with 20m+ waves driven by consistent and strong winds from the west, unencumbered by any land mass this far south on the globe. All this should make for fast downwind sailing, hanging on tight whilst a fully powered up spinnaker accelerates us up to 30 knots (33 knots is the record I think).

A low pressure system moving slowly eastward continues to spoil the party. The system is to the north of where it is meant to be. So, for over a week, we have been getting 20 knots of wind from the east (which is where we are trying to go), and latterly from the south (which at least means we don't need to zig zag our way upwind any more, just one long zag). Whoosh, whoosh, bump is the theme of the journey as we drive through the swell and drop suddenly off the top of the occasionally bigger wave breaking over the bow, spraying anyone on deck with fast moving particles of icy salt water (ice was seen one morning on the life line at the bow.)

It all still meets the part of the expectation set by RKJ at our team briefing in Cape Town, when he told us we'd be going to a cold, wet, miserable place. Curiously there are no thermometers on CV27, but the 5 layers of clothing underneath my dry suit are testament to our battle (not always successfully) to stay warm on deck.

Our hopes have been raised many times that this weather would change - “in about 24 hours”. Unfortunately, the low is moving along with us in our direction. Can we ever escape it? Watch this space. We are heartened to hear Fremantle had a high of 39deg C this week. So somewhere between here and there it'll warm up.

Reasons to be cheerful: 1) We're in the lead (by 100+ miles) - this compensates for everything. 2) It's not raining.