Week 1, Antarctica 2022 Expedition

Highlights - Penguins, Whales & Buddy Boats

We arrived to Antarctica and the Melchior Islands on the morning of Tuesday, 18 Jan. It was a beautiful, sunny day. We could see a couple of humpbacks feeding in the bay which is always a nice treat. It felt great to be back in Antarctica. It was still a bit windy, and as there were 2 other boats in the normal tucked in mooring spot, we found a place to drop our anchor that was a little bit exposed to the winds, but not too bad; it is good to have solid anchoring gear. While we had experienced a rough night making our way to Melchior, the good weather kept us going working on chores. The wind quickly settled down, and Jon spent most of the day outside working on getting the dinghy re-inflated and the boat back into our coastal cruising configuration. They say that cruising is fixing boats in exotic locations - well, this week definitely had a bit of that. When we went to mount our servo pendulum wind steering (back up to autopilot) in Lennox, we found that it had seized up. So the first repair project had Jon continuing to work on loosening it with los of teflon spray and patience.

Dinghies from both of the other boats - LifeXplorer and Spirit of Sydney - came by to say hi and have a socially distanced talk about their Antarctic experiences. They were both set to head back north, across the Drake, the next morning. We discussed ice levels and things that cruisers to Antarctica discuss. What a different world than last year when we were almost completely alone. We finished off the day and enjoyed a wonderful, peaceful full night of sleep.

Wednesday turned out to be another fairly nice day. We went for a cruise in the dinghy under light gray skies with a little bit of wind. We were able to watch some humpbacks eating and we cruised around Melchior. We tried to go down a small inlet / passage but the tide was too low. It made for an interesting adventure surrounded by ice cliffs where we alternated between paddling and the engine. In the end we almost made it through, but had to turn around and go back the way that we came as we didn't fancy carrying the dinghy across a very shallow flat with fast moving water. We probably could have gone through easily at high tide. Another interesting and lovely Antarctica exploration.

Later in the evening the sun was out and when we were having dinner another sailboat motored close by - Bouchard - who we knew of from Puerto Williams but had never met. We had seen his boat before the pandemic very briefly in Puerto Williams and Ushuaia, but when the borders closed he ended up stuck in Ushuaia while we were stuck in Puerto Williams. It was nice to finally meet him, if only for a couple of minutes. We had a quick chat across the boats. He was planning to head back north across the Drake the following day. Melchior is an interesting cross roads as it is a popular place to enter or depart Antarctica.

Thursday we decided to head south to Port Lockroy. We had texted Sea Wind and Cool Change, boats we knew from Puerto Williams, that we were planning to go to Lockroy. We were happy to hear that was their plan as well! We moved 45 miles for the day. It was overcast but we were able to watch some humpback whales feeding and see a little bit of the impressive mountains of Antarctica. As we departed Melchior, we realized that we had actually broken something quite important on our crossing. Our autopilot, nicknamed Nike, is a very important crew member - she faithfully steers Zephyros along allowing us to sit in the comfort of the pilot house and push buttons to alter our course. Well, when we headed out from Melchior we realized that Nike was no longer engaging. Nike wasn't moving the helm and investigation into what was wrong was necessary. Jon quickly discovered the hydraulic ram arm was no longer attached to the steering gear and that we had sheered a rather specialized 20mm diameter bolt! Crap. That must have been a tremendous amount of force, and it is not something that we had a spare for. The bolt must have sheered in the heavy weather over the last night of our crossing and held on for some time by a thread until finally coming off right outside of Melchior. In hindsight, there had been an indication that Nike didn't want to steer anymore entering into Melchior, but we were tired from the crossing and hand steering into the anchorage anyway so hadn't really processed the full extent of the issue. Ok, a new challenge to overcome. We went into hand steering mode doing about an hour at the helm each. Not a big deal, we just rotated to make sure neither of us got too cold. The bigger issue was thinking through how we would fix Nike and where we might get a replacement bolt. One of the things about sailing that keeps things interesting and rewarding, is problem solving. You get to play MacGyver a lot and when you succeed in solving those challenging problems it is very satisfying.

Continuing on our trip south, we found via the AIS that we were about 10nm behind Sea Wind and heard from Cool Change that they were traveling with Sea Wind. The Neumayer Channel was beautiful even though it was a bit shrouded with clouds. We passed by feeding humpbacks a few times which always prompts a slow down and hope that they will be curious enough to come closer. Sometimes they do, sometimes they dive down or swim away. We are always happy to enjoy whatever part of their day they decide to share with us. As we approached Lockroy we could see that there was a Royal Navy (UK) Survey Ship, the HMS Protector, outside of the bay. As we turned the corner we saw the large ship with a huge crane. We looked at each other and said they would definitely have a 20mm bolt! Soon after, they called us up on the radio to have a chat. It seems like the military ships always want to get boat names to report back to the Antarctic Treaty Organization to ensure that sailboats spotted had gotten the required treaty authorizations and additionally to just pass information about ice and conditions back and forth. We were happy to have a friendly little chat with them and then asked if they might happen to have a 20mm bolt. They kindly went to look and called us back to tell us they had a bag of a couple of options and we were welcome to send a dinghy over and they would lower the bag down to us. Sweet!

By this point we had anchored in the bay and Cool Change had come by to say hello. So Jon jumped aboard their dinghy which has a bigger engine than ours and they headed out to HMS Protector to pick up the bag. After that was all sorted, with Cool Change's help to secure shore lines, we moved into Alice Creek to join Sea Wind and Cool Change. So Thursday saw us with an impromptu Micalvi gathering in Port Lockroy. It was crazy to be back together again, enjoying Antarctica together!

Friday we enjoyed some nice sunny weather. We took a dinghy explore to cruise around Lockroy. We saw a seal swimming and then went walking with the penguins. It is always entertaining to hang out with them and to watch them from the boat or see them swimming past. This year there are people at the facilities at Port Lockroy to do some maintenance, do penguin counts and check on things. Actually, they had just been delivered to Lockroy by HMS Protector. Unfortunately, the site is closed to visitors while the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust's maintenance team is on site. We were especially happy that we had the chance to walk around the site last year when nobody was there, but the site had been opened by the UK ship, the James Clark Ross. Its too bad that it is closed, but the people were nice on the radio and it's good to know the facility is getting attention this year.

The rest of the day, Jon worked on Nike. It turned out that getting the bolt, while critical, was only half of the problem. Getting the sheered off section free from the ram arm was proving quite difficult. We borrowed a gear extractor from a motor yacht, Moonshadow, but that didn't really help as it proved to be a little too large. Their engineer came by and made a suggestion that helped inspire the eventual solution. We then went over, along with Sea Wind, to Cool Change for the evening where we were treated to a delicious taco party. It was a wonderful little gathering of our Micalvi bubble in Antarctica. Sea Wind also brought by a smaller gear extractor for Jon to try.

Before the end of the evening, there was also a charter sailboat called Ocean Tramp, in Alice Creek with us and another charter sailboat, Global Surveyor, out in the bay. The latter of which found themselves on some rocks and requiring assistance from dinghies from Moonshadow and Cool Change, before moving further out in the bay. For those that have been reading the blog for awhile and counting carefully, we did indeed see more ships and sailboats on Friday alone than we did during the whole of our 2021 Antarctica trip.

Saturday turned into a bit of a hectic day. We all knew that there was supposed to be precipitation and some wind, but we ended up with quite a bit of strong wind. It must have been a little microclimate with the glaciers and ice cliffs. Global Surveyor asked for assistance, and Cool Change headed out to help them recover their struggling dinghy and a wayward scientist. Meanwhile the wind really started gusting, hitting most of us in Alice Creek on the side. We watched as Sea Wind started really heeling and blowing into Cool Change a bit - all while Cool Change was out helping somebody else. We got dressed to go help and to add a windward line for ourselves. By the time we were out the door, Cool Change was back and Sea Wind and Cool Change looked to be mostly sorted. We added another line and found that a large rock that we were using to anchor a line was moving a bit. This rock also had a line from Cool Change around it so we helped put that in a better spot as well. It was a wet and busy afternoon! By the evening the wind was back to a light breeze and we were all able to sleep and recover.

We had thought that we would move on Sunday, but given the big fluffy flakes of wet snow falling from the sky when we awoke and the inability to steer from the pilot house while motoring along, Megan resolutely voted that Jon should get back to work first. This turned out to be a great decision all around. It was overcast and blah most of the day on Sunday so we weren't missing any impressive scenic views. It also gave us a chance to invite Sea Wind and Cool Change over for a pizza party. Jon went back to work trying to extract the bolt piece still stuck in the ram arm universal joint while there were other boats around with the potential of different tools available if needed. He finally solved the puzzle by pushing the shaft end of the bolt back into the collar he was trying to remove and filing down the shaft a little before sliding off the collar that held it in the universal joint. Whew! Then he worked on installing the new bolt. The new bolt turned out to be just a little too short so the project became completely MacGyver-like with him filing down a large nut to make a small collared spacer and making the parts available work. The temporary fix should now hold, but we will be watching it closely. We will need to get a real replacement piece at some point, and maybe find a slightly longer temporary bolt in the meantime, but this should get us to somewhere we can do either (or both). Definitely creative fixing of boats in exotic locations!

Sunday night was another fun gathering with our Micalvi / Puerto Williams friends and provided a chance to say goodbye to Cool Change as they were planning to start heading north. We have spent the pandemic with them, and been around for some of their major life changes - a wedding and the birth of their son, Orion. We have shared numerous Asados (BBQs) at Micalvi, attended their wedding, attended Orion's 1st birthday party, worked on boat projects and just generally enjoyed getting to know them. Brandon has entertained Daxton for hours and hours, and even made a sling shot with him. They are incredibly special people. Sailing is often moving through places and meeting people on a somewhat superficial level - not that you don't have friendships, but it takes time to really get to know people. But slowing down for the pandemic and spending two years in Puerto Williams and at Micalvi really did build a special little community and interesting family. It was hard to say "see you later" to them. We are sure we will see them again, but it is hard to know when or where.

Monday morning we set off south bound with Nike steering most of the way (yay!). The weather was clearer and we had a nice passage through Peltier and Lemaire Channels. Both are spectacular channels with high mountains rising on both sides and huge glaciers. As we approached the second channel, there was a French boat ahead of us, Caval'ou, and Sea Wind behind us. 3 little ducklings each about 5 miles apart. After the Lemaire we looped through an Iceberg Cemetery and anchored off of Pleneau Island. The spot we anchored in last year had an ice floe still, but we found another suitable spot to anchor in without too much trouble. We then enjoyed our hot showers thanks to the day of motoring and water making. Sea Wind ended up coming into the same general spot and also found a suitable place to anchor. Caval'ou had tried to go further south to Vernadsky but found it to have too much ice so they circled back to Pleneau and secured themselves into a popular and secure tie in spot. They came by to check on both Sea Wind and us, and to tell us about the conditions in Vernadsky. We are all hoping to head further south so it is always good to have made contact with the other boats and to pass information around. The plan is now to skip past Vernadsky on our way south and maybe stop there on our way back north.

We closed out the first week with a lovely evening aboard Sea Wind with popcorn and a card game. It has been quite strange to be so social in Antarctica this year - even though it is still with our friends from Puerto Williams and inside the bubble we had before departing for Antarctica. Not only is this far more people than last year in Antarctica, it is also far more people than when we have cruised around in Patagonia or the Beagle Channel! A bit surreal to be sure.

We are looking forward to week 2. We are hoping to make it further south and to meet up with Kotik who has kindly brought our replacement anemometer pieces. Thanks for following along.

Anchored in Melchior & Day 5 (+3 hours)

1030Z 18JAN22, anchored in Anderson Harbour, between Zeta and Eta Islands, Melchior Islands, Antarctica

Day 5 plus 3 hours, Drake Passage.
27 hour progress: 144nm, 5.3kts avg SOG.
Passage Information: 646nm, 5d 3h (123hrs), 5.25kts avg SOG, 19.7h on engine
Casualties: anemometer & hem in Chilean courtesy flag (both occurred at anchor off Lennox Island, Chile)

Day 5 was tough. The first 8 hours remained close hauled. We made the final call that we wouldn't make landfall at Pitt like we had hoped and would instead aim for Melchior. For the afternoon the winds calmed, we shook out a reef and we relaxed to a close reach. We continued making good speed.

We also fretted about weather. When we took this weather window we knew that pushing departure from Wednesday to Thursday set us up to get head winds and then heavy winds from the south west when we would potentially be making landfall. We had hoped we could motor through the head winds and that we would make landfall before the heavy winds. This was not to be. Hope is not a strategy.

We ended up sailing the head winds as they were strong enough and the seas weren't calm enough to motor through them. So we sailed a westward tack, before turning south southeast. While we sailed well and comfortably, we lost about a half day's forward progress (compared to moving along the rhumb line at 5kts). This was good in that it saved fuel and got us west enough that we could ultimately make Melchior, but bad in that it meant we had about 4-5 hours through those 50+kt winds. We knew it was going to happen which helps, but it still was daunting and challenging.

We reefed down to our 4th reef on the main, and ended up with a handkerchief worth of genoa. This kept our speed around 5-6 kts on a good course and was comfortable and manageable. The seas were big and they pushed us around a little. However, it was all safe enough. Just tough. In some ways it is good that the anemometer failed as we can make up how much wind it was!?! Ah, it will be a good sea story now that we are safely anchored.

The weather continued to be overcast, gray and cold. However, as we approached the Antarctic Peninsula the clouds cleared and you could see the outlines of some combination of clouds and mountains. It was impossible to know which was which in the twilight hours of "darkness". As daylight approached (3:30am), the winds hadn't died off really, the white behemoth mountains towered in front of Zephyros and we worried whether things would ever calm to help us to make landfall or if we would just be barreling into the Peninsula.

Of course, things did calm down as forecasted, we rolled out more sail, we motor sailed, then we secured all the sails and motored into the Melchior Islands. We found 2 boats tied into the normal parking spot and it was pretty windy there. We continued on to evaluate additional options and ended up anchoring in a bay to the north where we can free swing until the winds die down enough for us to inflate the dinghy.

In the meantime we are happy to be in Antarctica! We enjoyed a hearty bacon and egg breakfast and are warming the boat with the Refleks heater. Off to do some chores and maybe take a nap…

Next post will probably be in a week to summarize our first week in Antarctica. Thanks for reading and following our progress!

Day 4, Drake Passage Southbound

0715Z 17JAN22, Day 4, Drake Passage.
Current Position: 62 27S / 065 22W
24 hour progress: 133nm, 5.5kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 502nm, approximately 130nm to landfall. Sailing close hauled, 3 reefs in the main, full genoa.

Day 4 continued just like it started. We had 24 hours of sailing hard, as close hauled as we can manage, bashing into big seas. Close hauled is a tough point of sail - you are heeled over and pounding into the waves. Cooking, really doing anything below, is challenging. Basically you hang on for the ride on the freight train. Day 5 looks to be much of the same. We are pressing on and resting the best we can while off watch. The boys continue to stand a little watch which also helps.

The weather was overcast and gray. And cold. Cold outside, but also cold inside. The sea temperature is just above freezing and the air a few degrees above that. We are looking forward to getting the anchor down and the heater going. Everything is cold and damp!

It appears that we have around another day to get to Melchior, longer to get to Pitt but those angles just don't seem possible. We are already doing all we can and pointed just slightly south of Melchior.

We are all well aboard and getting excited for our arrival in Antarctica. We are looking forward to seeing what day 5 brings.

Day 3, Drake Passage Southbound

0715Z 16JAN22, Day 3, Drake Passage.
Current Position: 60 40S / 068 00W
24 hour progress: 121nm, 5kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 369nm, approximately 275nm to landfall.

To start day 3, winds became lighter, as forecast, and by 0530 we were motoring with 1 reef in the main and no genoa. We had entered the Drake Lake section of the passage. We pointed just west of where we want/hope to make landfall and motored along directly into light head winds.

It was another good weather day and we warmed up the boat with the engine and some sun in the pilot house. We also did housekeeping stuff like cleaning dishes without worrying that they would fly across the boat, made some water and enjoyed tuna melts for lunch. Everyone was in good spirits and a nice dinner seemed promising and was thus planned.

In the afternoon, we watched a light-mantled albatross and a number of small storm petrels and prions frolic around the boat. They all looked like they were considering landing on Zephyros but none did. The albatross would soar around us, land next to us, float back along our track, take off and do it all again while the petrels and prions followed along without landing in the water.

The forecasts suggested that we might have to motor for 24-36 hours until we got wind from a good direction to sail. Well, as the day played out we actually only motored for about 14 hours and found ourselves in very sailable winds, from a not great direction, right as Megan was finishing up dinner preps. As is often the case, dinner time meant increased winds and the anticipated calm dinner prep turned more challenging. But it all got in the oven and then, as Jon was napping and Daxton was standing watch, Megan unfurled the genoa and secured the engine setting us up close hauled on a port tack. (This means everything in the boat shifts the opposite way and wasn't exactly expected for our southbound transit of the Drake where the winds normally blow from the west.)

The course over ground was ok for awhile but the winds turned to be more southerly and a bit stronger. Jon added a reef to the main with Ronan on watch while Megan slept. We sailed on at a nice clip but nearly due west when we want to actually go south. The age old problem of sail - you just can't head to where the wind is coming from. (And motoring into the wind means uncomfortable bashing in these conditions.)

We finished out day 3 adding another reef (so back to 3 reefs) to the main with a full genoa and tacking back to starboard. The course still isn't where we would like it to be, but the boat is leaned over in the expected direction and we are moving at a good speed.

We are sailing as close to the wind as we can (which isn't especially close compared to some other sailboats) and hoping the wind moves more westerly so that we can go more southerly. It should eventually turn according to the forecast - some on Sunday, more on Monday. However, we already believe we have more wind than forecast (hard to know for sure since our anemometer is broken) and we just aren't sure if it will turn enough to point us where we were hoping to make landfall. We might have to go to the back up option. Not a big deal, but we were (are) hoping we can make landfall decently far south this year. In the meantime we sail on and do what we can with what we have.

Day 2, Drake Passage Southbound

0715Z 15JAN22, Day 2, Drake Passage.
Current Position: 59 13S / 066 17W
24 hour progress: 119nm, 5kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 248nm, approximately 350nm to landfall. We continued making a good course, sailing a beam reach to close reach.

To start day 2, the winds became lighter and by early morning we were sailing the full genoa, with 3 reefs in the main. We continued making a good course and decent speeds. Overnight things continued to lighten, both winds and seas, we then shook out 2 more reefs in the main and continued sailing to wrap up day 2. By the end, the course wasn't perfect but we were still sailing with ok speed and calm seas.

The big surprise of day 2 was a large iceberg north of the Antarctic convergence zone. We spotted it in the afternoon, roughly at 58 11S / 066 48W. This is quite far north to see ice and a good reminder to keep a good watch / lookout. We passed about 4nm west of it and were glad to see that it showed up on radar. Also, we are now far enough south that while the sun sets it is pretty much twilight for the whole night which also helps the lookout.

All is well aboard. Everyone is feeling a bit better and finding their sea legs. Still lots of sleeping but everyone is eating again. The boys also stood watches.

We saw dolphins for a bit early in the day and some albatrosses and storm petrels, throughout the day. While the soaring albatrosses will forever be mesmerizing and beautiful, the storm petrels always impress us - so small and so far from any land.

Day 1, Drake Passage Southbound

0715Z 14JAN22, Day 1, Drake Passage.
Current Position: 57 16S / 065 46W
24 hour progress: 129nm, 5.4kts avg SOG, approximately 470nm to landfall. We have been sailing a close or beam reach with 4 reefs in the main and 3 in the genoa, direct to our desired landfall position. The seas have been large but are starting to settle out in the deeper water. Wind has probably been mostly 25-30kts, but without the anemometer we don't exactly know.

We departed from our spot at anchor in the northern bay of Lennox just after 4am local time. We motored south and circumnavigated Isla Terhalten in lovely, sunny weather. There were penguins and seals to watch through binoculars. After that we set sail towards Cape Horn and secured the engine. We even saw another sailboat out sailing - presumably headed to Antarctica. Some dolphins also came to say hello for a short while.

Before we started the passage, we spent almost a week in Lennox. We finished up the last tasks, like deflating and stowing the dinghy, and topped up fuel from an extra jug. This year we have a 400L fuel bladder secured to our foredeck. Besides the voyage to Antarctica, we plan to make some big miles this year so we bought it in hopes that we would worry less about fuel this year than we did last year. We also have a 200L drum strapped into our cockpit. So we have doubled our internal fuel capacity and taken more fuel than we did last year.

We found ourselves waiting and waiting for weather in Lennox. The opportunities that seemed like they might be ok, closed up and looked too windy by the time they arrived. But eventually it lined up so that we could depart Thursday morning. Additionally it appeared the winds would be light enough that we could go directly past Cape Horn. We skipped it last year on our way out and stayed offshore. And on our return it was far too stormy to even think about. So, as this was our goodbye to Chile and our 3rd time passing Cape Horn, we were happy weather was going to allow us a trip close by this sailing pinnacle.

All in all, it was a wonderful day for the first 10 hours. Beautiful weather, great sailing in easy seas and some gusty winds. Then as we passed Cape Horn, the clouds rolled in, the winds picked up and the ocean swell hit us. The next 14 hours have been adjusting to the Drake and making Zephyros comfortable.

We are all doing fine and adjusting back to passage making. Lots of sleeping and a good amount of queasiness. Daxton came up to see Cape Horn and promptly threw up all over the stairs into the boat. Pretty sure this is a repeat of last year. Megan cleaned it all up and has vowed to make him have a bucket with him until he has his sea legs.

We were off - but only to wait for weather at Isla Lennox

On Friday, 7JAN22, after final goodbye's and chatting around Zephyros with our fellow sailors at Micalvi, we successfully extracted ourselves from our Micalvi parking spot. It was a calm, light wind day and we motored along with the current on flat seas with a very light headwind. When we left we weren't sure how far we would go. The point was more that we left the port after a bunch of difficulties getting checked out. However, it was a pleasant enough day, so we decided to keep going. We even got a couple of hours sailing in after we exited the Beagle and pointed south. It's always more enjoyable to have the engine off and to save the fuel, even if we started out close hauled before relaxing to a close reach.

We knew there was weather coming and the next chance to move would be Sunday before more weather rolled through. In the end, we decided to go to Lennox, which is an easy departure anchorage. This would allow us flexibility to take a weather window to get closer to Cape Horn or even to head off, depending on the forecasts. It didn't look great, but it would put us in a position to grab good weather, if it materialized.

Being able to have the short sail also turned out to be a good little shake down. We decided to change a couple of things before we head offshore. It's actually been awhile since we raised the main and we spotted one of those "about to happen / about to become an issue" items and replaced some failing bungee links with new line. As we knew it was supposed to get windy, we went ahead and made the changes Friday after anchoring when all we had was light winds to raise the main. Yay, something quickly sorted out!

The first night saw us rocking in some swell. It's something that doesn't happen much at anchor in the channels but happens plenty in other parts of the world. We spent the night adjusting and figured it helps to gain the necessary sea legs. By Saturday morning the wind had moved more to the west and we no longer had any swell. We got blown around a bit, but the anchor holding is solid so it was all fine. We watched weather, secured some more items for sea and hung out. The Sunday window no longer looked to be great and it appeared that we could get caught in the strong gusts forecast for over Cape Horn. While the boat can deal with it all well, Zephyros is loaded with extra fuel, so the prudent course, is to avoid heavy weather as much as practical. Plus we don't have those sea legs yet, so right into big seas and high winds is always challenging. We decided to give the closing Sunday window a pass.

However, because Sunday was indeed calm off of Lennox, we moved Zephyros down closer towards the Alcamar. Alcamar's are Navy control posts that monitor traffic, a bit like a light house and marine traffic control with a keeper but no light. They typically have a family stationed at them for 1-2 year tours. It seems like quite the interesting opportunity. We also know there is a king penguin that likes to hang out by the Alcamar house at Lennox, so we were hoping to have a walk and catch a sighting of the infamous penguin. Unfortunately the penguin also decided to get out and about in the nice, calm weather so we missed him. However, we still enjoyed the land time and chance to stretch our legs. We were also able to say "hello" on the radio to the family at the Alcamar with their two young children, and to wave as we went by. We had a nice walk to see some beaver dams and the beach despite missing the penguin.

The weather showed the winds would again have some north to them so we decided to move back up to the northern bay off of Lennox for better protection over night and to wait out the heavy winds forecasted for Monday and Tuesday. We also took advantage of the calm evening to deflate the dinghy and store it as we didn't want to do that in heavy winds. With everything tidied up we are feeling really ready to go, just obsessed with weather now.

Monday 10JAN, found us indeed seeing strong winds and glad that we weren't out in the Drake. We continue to watch for a weather window but the next one is closing up and has issues too. We are trying to calculate the safest compromise. Meanwhile our anemometer (wind speed indicator) stopped working, it seems to have worn out a bearing after 4 years of faithful spinning. It was reading properly in the morning, but is now reading way too low. This provides some challenges. We are hoping the auto pilot will still pilot us efficiently with the apparent wind angle and gyro readings, even if the wind speed is wrong and not responsive to gusts. It won't affect our backup Windpilot self-steering in any way. The problem will mean that we don't have the ability to have the computer tell us the winds are building or dying off, and we will have to manage our sail plan by the feel of the wind which we should certainly be able to do, it is just more challenging, particularly for our young watchstanders.

We continue to sit and wait. Hoping a weather window materializes while we work on sourcing a replacement part. We are anxious to set off across the Drake, but we didn't wait for the correct window only to push on into a tough one. Fingers remain crossed that we will have something this week. Sitting in Lennox listening to heavy winds through the rigging is getting a bit old. But we are making the most of it too - resting and pushing through school work with the boys.

We will start the daily log posts after we get going, but thought we would do an update since we have been sitting here a few days. Thanks for following along!