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Spirit of Hungary info – Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman skippers’ log 12-13 -14 Mach

N.Fa: “We had a huge wave that we were in the way of. It grabbed us and simply put us 20 metres away. Of course, the top of the way had run across the boat and caught the bottom of the stay sail, which wouldn’t let go, causing the halyard to let go – which broke in the outer kevlar circular weaving in front of the lock, and the inner weight-bearing core has run out. The furling had stopped at the height of 1 metre, and looked like a mini strong wind gennaker. I winched it back and now it works in its place, although with a broken outer layer. We will have to exchange it as soon as possible, but it’s not going to be today.”

14 March

Spirit of Hungary is sailing in strong W’lies north of a low pressure approaching Cape Horn. Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman are sailing still in 30-40kts SWly winds just over 500 miles to Cape Horn.
Weather forcast by BWR: Low pressure will hold south of about 59S in the Pacific. Broad W’ly flow between 58S and 46S into the Chilean coast. This flow will extend across Cape Horn and the Falkland Islands.

13 March Nandor Fa skipper’s log 17 00 UTC

We are approaching the notorious cape, and we always have something to do, such like repairing the lasy jack that had been chewed by the boom, or changing broken ropes like the stay’s halyard. There are at least ten of these every day, and there’s more and more as things get old and come to their fatigue. The only things that are not allowed to get tired is us. We must keep the boat alive, otherwise it won’t reach the finish line.

I started the day with a sail-change. Before C went to sleep I asked him to help. We rolled up the reacher and hoisted the solent instead. The wind is getting stronger and I don’t want to push it too much.

The boat surfs from time to time and then we plummet hard every time, which burdens the suspension significantly. Now we are a little bit slower but hopefully we can progress safely. Now I’ll have some breakfast, I deserve it.

Most of the times, we have Westerly winds. We try to choose our routing so that we don’t get into enormous gales, and nor into too light conditions in the following two days before Horn.

After the gybe yesterday night we were running within steadily formed big seas, so the night went fairly simply, we progressed well, with just a little bit of pounding and rumbling.

At the moment we are sailing to North-East on port tack and sometime in the afternoon or in the evening we’ll gybe back towards a South-Easterly direction, which will bring us closer to the target, we just need to have the right longitude.

I have to eat something more because my whole body is freezing. I’m wearing the maximum amount of clothes possible, in which I’m still capable to move. I can only trust my inner heating system.

The water is 7°C, the air is even colder than that. In the morning I changed a bandage on the boom, it took only 10 minutes but my hand were frozen as if I had been playing snowball without gloves at home with the girls.

On 13th March at 17 00 UTC our position is: 54° 00,1′ S, 089° 20,5′ W,
24° left until Horn.

BWR positions and meteo info Issued 0300Z 13-MAR-2015

OVERVIEW: Cheminees Poujoulat is still sailing northwest in moderate NE
trade winds. Winds are forecast to veer as they sail further north,
allowing freer angles and a more direct northerly course. Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos are still in the SE trades. These increase with distance north, allowing Neutrogena to accelerate a bit away
from GAES. They are still a couple days from reaching the Doldrums, which
are slowly shifting north at the moment.  We Are Water and One Planet have slowed and are crossing a ridge to leach the W’lies they have sailing in since leaving the Atlantic Ocean in January. They will cross through the ridge and area of light wind in the next day to
make their way north toward the trade winds north of about 25S. Renault Captur is back in some stronger winds now that high pressure has
moved east of them. They are now sailing east just north of the Falkland

Spirit of Hungary is in moderate to fresh winds as they sail southeast to
make their way around Cape Horn in a few days time.

Nandor Fa skipper’s log 12 Mar

Every time the wind calms under 30 knots and we decide to unreef, it increases back to 40 again. This way, of course the 3 reefs and the stay remains.

13 00 UTC,

At last, C unreefed the 3rd line and we sailed that way the whole night. The wind did not respect this at all, sustained its 40 knots power — actually this is just a short period when it’s calmer. It’s my watch now and we are running fast among waves, there is no sign of the wind to intend to decrease.
This is the fourth day that we are sailing in the same cyclone. It’s strongest wind area is about 500 miles ahead of us, where we sail is somewhat calmer, but I have no idea how much calmer as even here it goes above 50 kts from time to time. There’s got to be enough wind over there, having been building up these huge waves, that’s for sure. It’s very exhausting in the long run, we don’t have a moment of rest. Even when the wind slightly calms sometimes, the waves do not relent – they keep carrying us like a foxy dog carries the door mat.

According to the previous forecast, there should have been a decrease, but according to the latest one, not any more, only very close to the cape.

On 12th March, at 16 00 UTC our position is: 54° 03,6′ S, 098° 44,4′ W,
31° until the Horn.


Conrad Colman co-skipper’s log Position 53 Degrees 34 South 101 Degrees 07 West, 1000 Nautical Miles to Cape Horn

You’ve heard me talk about the cold, and with the sea water temperature now down to 7 Celcius as we traverse a spur of cold water pushed up from Antartica, it keeps getting colder. However, I’m not one to sit by and shiver so I thought I would tell you a little about what I am doing to stay comfortable and ready to perform down here.

As the Spirit of Hungary can’t be driven from under cover like a number of our competitors, we either need to face the brunt of this latest Southern Ocean storm at the helm….. or, we can let Knut the autopilot drive for us while we keep a hand on the mainsheet and a finger on the autopilot control. With cold water and regular gusts of 50 kts outside, its an easy choice. The person on watch still needs to be ready to intervene at a moments notice however, so we’re dressed in our Musto water proof salopettes and boots, with the jacket on standby ready to hand. Underneath that I have one or two insulated jackets, a thin polar fleece top and a long sleeved merino wool base layer. On the bottom I have a pair of thick wooly socks, merino long underpants and an extra thick prototype mid-layer salopette. All that and I’m still cold sometimes!

When I’m off watch I’ll jump into my 5 Degree mummy style sleeping bag which felt excessive in the shop hasn’t proved to be overkill these last few weeks. I protect the sleeping bag from residual moisture with a bivvy bag, a kind of mini tent shell. My secret weapon is a pair of down insulated base camp boots used by mountain climbers to keep my tootsies warm and toasty.

Layers on the outside is only half battle as I also need to stoke the inner fire to stay warm. With my fat stores reducing, eating enough during the day is absolutely key as I have less stored energy available and less natural insulation! Here’s a list of what I ate today which, with the exception of the orange from New Zealand, is pretty representative of my southern diet. Add in a generous handful of peanuts and I’m well over 2500 calories for the day. This count is assisted by incredible sugar and fat bombs like the Fuzion flapjack that come in nut, dried fruit, chocolate and raspberry (!) varieties since it’s pretty hard to get a lot of calories as a vegetarian in frieze dried food!

Porridge with Raisins and a cup of coffee
Kellogs Nutri Grain Breakfast Bar 182 calories
Barley-Lentil Risotto 498 calories
Fuzion Flapjack 809 calories (with more coffee)
Cream of Potato Soup 413  calories
One fresh NZ Orange
Soy and Mushroom Pasta 387 calories

I have just been reading South, by Ernest Shackleton, as a way of putting what we are doing in perspective. Escaping from a ship crushed by Antartic ice pack with only little rowing boats is justifiably one of humanities greatest stories of survival, even if it does make me look like a modern softey by comparison!

Hats of to fellow former Mini 6.50 sailor Nick Bubb for recently reenacting the escape from Elephant Island and successfully making the crossing to South Georgia Island in an open boat with period correct food and equipment!