Dee Caffari describes the challenges the team face as they depart Cape Town and head into the Southern Ocean.

Departure from Cape Town is always tricky. We have enjoyed the good weather, lots of action and great hospitality, now we have to head into the Southern Ocean to the cold, hostile waters that circulate around Antarctica.

That said, this is one of the reasons we sign up to this race to push the limits in the Southern Ocean. As scary as it may seem to the uninitiated, it is also some of the best sailing you can do.

We had strong winds leaving Cape Town and we tacked our way with the fleet along the coast overnight until the next day when we set off heading south to cross a high pressure ridge. It was warm, sunny and lovely cruising, but frustrating to be racing in such conditions as the wind was shifty and gusty.

Now we have the lull before the storm. It is 24 hours of these conditions, flat water and easy breeze, then we will be negotiating a secondary low. Waves of 10 metres are being predicted and winds over 50 knots. These are boat breaking conditions and decisions are being made by myself and Nico over what level we want to sail in. You get to a certain stage and then you stop sailing and just start surviving. We will sail faster if we can manage the conditions.

So looking to keep racing but give ourselves a chance and not risk injury to people or boat. It is a tough call and we know we will have 48 hours of wet cold and windy conditions. Everyone is checking their gear and tidying up. Making sure they eat well and drink well today while the going is easy as they may struggle from tomorrow lunchtime onwards. Liz, the Boat Captain is checking the boat for any potential issues so we can be in good shape when the bad weather hits and then we need to ride it out, ready to get back on the horse so to speak when the opportunity arises and get pushing to Melbourne.

All are in good spirits let’s just hope I can say the same in a few days’ time when we are out the other side when I hope to report all is still well.

Opi, our science project, is performing well and has already been analysing the water we have been sailing in for Microplastics. He has a long way to go and we are all keen to hear of the results from this remote part of the planet.


Dee and all on Turn the Tide on Plastic