We all woke different men…well three members of our crew have. Forty-degree virgins they are no more! We have broken the 40 barrier, diving south and east into the infamous “Roaring 40’s”. This stretch of water also now technically the Southern Ocean. What a delight for all of us to pick up this long awaited front. It seemed like Wouter was messing with us: “Just another day guys”! We all feel like we have been off the coast of Rio for a life time.
Through 20-26 knots of wind, a moderate swell pushes Vestas along in the right direction for Cape Town. I can’t describe what it feels like for both the young guys and I. It’s the closest thing to Christmas morning onboard. Well, let me paint the picture first, it also sounds like someone else’s idea of a bad day.
The rig is humming, the sound echos throughout the boat, it’s almost like sitting in a tent with a fire hose pointed towards it. A constant trickle of water drips from the ceiling, almost always getting you down the back. The smell of sweaty feet and stinking human bodies is very much dulled down - the cold temperatures help a lot with smells. The floor is just one giant puddle of salt water. Imagine getting out of bed onto a cold wet carpet, ah yes I have you now! It’s darker than normal, the spray doors are fully zipped up at the hatches to stop the constant penetration of Southern Ocean water below decks.
Salty is happy, I mean he’s smiling! That means one thing, the world looks like its ending outside and the only job left to do is sail. Sail as fast as the wind and waves allow. For Peter the adrenaline of the race is really kicking in: “I have no idea what I signed up for, but this is FUN, that’s for sure.”
For now we are still with the leaders, pushing hard, restricted with our ability to go further south due to the Ice Gates, apparently there’s some ice floating near the Antarctic! “Previously, when we didn’t have ice gates, we went through a lot of ice. When you look back afterwards, it’s one of the coolest things you can do, but at the time, it’s probably one of the more dangerous things you can do in life, so from my point of view, for the moment it’s a good thing. The last thing I need to add to a list of grey hairs is to be sending us through icebergs.”
We continue to sail east - new scheds in the night will give us more of an understanding on what is going on…