Throwback Thursday: Fleet experiences 100 mph winds during race to Albany

13 November 2014

“I remember saying to myself when Leg 3 was over that I was so glad I’d experienced the Southern Ocean, but that I would never do it again! Well...never say never, as the saying goes!” Reflects Sascha Bonus, a Canadian crew member who took part in the last race, as we look back in this week’s Throwback Thursday.

As the fleet raced across the Southern Ocean, closing miles on its way to Albany, Sascha and her fellow crew members were at the centre of spectacular weather show from Mother Nature after a storm swept the fleet, hurling gale force winds of 50 to 80 knots, with multiple teams reporting wind speeds of 100 to 130 knots.

“The conditions were pretty crazy. The wind was howling so loud you could hardly hear anyone up on deck and was actually shearing the tops of the waves off,” explains Sascha, who has signed up to re-live the experience on the first five legs of the 2015-16 race.

“It was really cold and really wet but everyone handled the situation well. When conditions get like that people tend to go into survival mode. Helming was really challenging on this leg. Because we were going downwind you really had to know how to steer on the waves as so not to cause the boat to broach.”

Sascha’s team skipper, Patrick van der Zijden on board Old Pulteney, reported force 9 on the Beaufort scale with gusts up to 70 and 120 knot plus boat speeds. The ‘Riders on the Storm’ by The Doors blasted out as the team’s soundtrack for this rollercoaster ride, whilst other skippers reported it was a fun night of exciting, incredible, awe inspiring and definitely unforgettable proportion.

Sascha adds: “The excitement and the challenge was awesome and every watch was epic. The comradery I experienced was incredible. It was one of the hardest legs I did, but also the most satisfying. The feeling of racing through the Southern Ocean…a place where few sailors dare to go, is amazing. I also had my birthday during this race which was really special and hope to again next year!”

To find out more about Leg 3, click here

To watch footage of Sascha’s race, click here

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