Climbing waves and braving the chill of the Southern Ocean

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Hello again from the Southern Ocean as we scream towards Albany, Western Australia, at a rate of between 12 and 20 knots.

This equates to about 20-30mph, which is actually slower than some push bikes, but you have to remember the Derry~Londonderry~Doire is constantly climbing up waves the size of two-storey buildings and surfing down the other sides.

After our unplanned 500 mile detour to Port Elizabeth to drop off an injured crew member, we started racing 140 miles behind the second last placed boat.

But we’re catching up fast. I can now happily report that we have overtaken Team Garmin and are hot on the heels of a group of other boats including Jamaica Get All Right (80miles), PSP Logistics (107miles) and Old Pulteney (118miles).

The lead boat, Qingdao, is 472 miles ahead and we still have 2,200 miles to the finish.

This week’s big drama was another Southern Ocean Low Pressure system that passed over the fleet on Friday night.

“We were cautious after our knockdown in the previous storm and went with a conservative sail plan of three reefs and a storm sail.

This was fortunate as we saw sustained wind of 50 knots and gusts into the 70s.

Some of the boats didn’t divert north to dodge the highest winds and reported gusts of over 120 knots which is unbelievable.

Thankfully all boats and crew made it through unscathed.

It’s 5-degrees on deck and probably sub-zero if you add on the wind chill. It’s time to get back up there and put in another gybe (turn) as the wind has shifted again.

Until next week, keep your fingers crossed for another couple of places gained on the leader board!