Monday, January 07, 2019

Gutted, but Jeanne cooks up a beef and balti treat

Intrepid solo mariner Jeanne Socrates is acting wisely (comments one who knows) and is getting back to safer latitudes, not that the term 'safer' could really apply very much down there in the Roaring Forties.
The lady, in her 76th year (if I might put it genteelly), is aiming for Cape Horn to establish quite an astonishing world record. She hopes to be the oldest woman to sail solo non-stop unassisted around the world .
The Briton set off from an unusual departure point, the US Pacific coast, and hopes that will add a second feather to her cap, to make her the first woman to sail solo non-stop unassisted around the world from North America.
She passed Cape Horn at Christmas, which put her en route to pass to the south of South Africa.

The shrieking fifties

I was concerned that she might follow my route across that part of the world, down in what is most appropriately called the shrieking fifties.
I hoped - and I hope - that she will cross at about 40 degrees south, which is quite challenging enough for any human.
That seems to the intention, as revealed in the latest blog transmitted from her yacht, Nereida.
Jeanne wrote today that she lay hove to on Saturday after receiving a severe weather warning. 'If (the severe Low) continued on course, by Tuesday it would be right on top of us - with gusts around 45kt expected, so better to keep away.
'Made a nice curry to compensate for lack of progress - beef and spinach balti with basmati rice... Will heave to before sunset. Back to my bunk for more sleep...'

Feeling a bit gutted

Sunday afternoon: 'Seas well up and throwing us around on a regular basis. Feeling a bit gutted to have to be doing this yet again - I really thought we were finally escaping this region of persistent strong Lows to get to above 40S.'
For my singlehanded passage in the Southern Ocean well to the south of where Jeanne is now, I learned some lessons about the ferocity of the weather that I hope Jeanne won't have to experience. When the wind blows in the Southern Ocean, it certainly blows.
Of course, I was much closer to Antarctica, as I tell in my book of the voyage, Loner. For very many days the yacht was closely fog-bound. Perhaps I should have dropped the sails and 'hove to'. However, I didn't let the blindness interrupt progress.
I was concerned about icebergs. It was cold enough for the ocean to be a huge ice rink.
I received a radio link from some hardy souls on Signy Island but being sort-of land-based - it's a tiny part of terra firma - they didn't know the current positions of those large mobile islands somewhere nearby.

So close to disaster

Eventually, I got through the British Antarctic Survey ship, Bransfield. The radio operator said they did happen to know the position of four very large ones.
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


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