Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blogs From Diego Fructuoso and Neil McDonald - Team Telefonica

Photo: Maria Muina/Team Telefonica
Diego Fructuoso's Report:
Soooooo Cold
03-26-2012 23:15

Here on Telefónica we continue to sail the Southern Ocean. As I said yesterday, the conditions are improving, although the cold is getting worse (and I don't know when it will end).

Normally on deck there are four people: watch captain, bowman, trimmer and pitman. And every two hours there's a change in the watch - two come on and the two who were in their place come off. In that way, you work four hours and then go into rest for another four, during which time you eat, get changed, sleep, etc. Well, the cold is so extreme that the four who are on deck are taking it in turns to go inside, have something hot and go out again. After two hours on deck, you start being unable to feel your hands, feet, etc.

We have a lot of cold weather gear and while it's very good it's still not enough. Pablo says he feels like we're many degrees below zero and Joca is the same. The sea temperature is now down to nine degrees. I complain a lot about not being able to come and enjoy things outside because I have to spend so much time inside the boat but right now I think I'm a bit better off than my team mates.


Neal McDonald's Thoughts...
03-26-2012 17:50

We’re alright, we’re battling on. We’re nursing a slightly damaged bow and we’re just battling on and making sure we don’t do any more damage to it. We could push harder but we think that could lead to further problems. We’re just pulling along here and making sure we don’t do any more damage.

We’ve had two guys in the bow for a week, it feels. Pepe’s been in there for a week just trying to patch it up. We are going to keep going as it is and see how it all looks. Time will tell. It looks stable at the moment and at the pace we are going we are in good shape. We will just have to see how it fares as the next few days unfold.

We’ve had good typical Southern Ocean weather – nice big waves, plenty of breeze, cold enough to make you know where you are, plenty of action. Wave size is a very difficult thing to judge because down here you get some big waves and big swell but then you get a lot of waves created by local winds, so you end up with a boiling, uncontrollable sea that can get you in awful trouble. We’ve been a victim of that a couple of times during this trip -- fortunately not too much damage but enough to make you very aware that it’s a very dangerous place to be.

(On the video)

That’s just one piece of the action – we miss a lot of it. We had one incident early on in the leg where it was dark and we couldn’t get any video but it was much more scary. A wave smashed into our side and didn’t do a great deal of damage but certainly scared the hell out of us. Those things happen daily really. It was nice to catch that one, and no-one got hurt. I was actually on deck when that happened and it was crazy. Down below was mayhem as well. People were thrown out of their bunks but other than a few bruises no-one was hurt. Other scenarios aren’t as pretty. It’s a reminder about what a wild place it is.

(Weather to Cape Horn)

We’re expecting more wind. At the moment it’s quite sedate, the sea state is a lot less wild, the breeze is down to about 25 knots. It’s quite manageable. In fact I was on deck about three hours ago and there was a clear sky above us and we saw some stars. That’s not normal for the Southern Ocean. It’s pleasant sailing at the moment but damned cold.

(Looking at Abu Dhabi?)

Sure, anything can happen. They have had a rotten time sitting around in no wind but very shortly they will be on their train and charging along. We have to be very careful about where they end up. 1,000 miles sounds like a long way but it could all change quite quickly.

Team Telefonica Media

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