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Crossing the Antarctic Convergence Area

Southern Ocean 

Easing winds. From an undemanding and unhurried sailing to Motorsail under all the Staysails.  

15, 12, 10, 8, 6 kn 
5 to 3 kn 
272 * 2 KW 
1 day 
6.5 to 7 kn 

An assortment of numbers, a sort of a riddle. A strategy game with the Ocean as its board and which counters are the wind direction, speeds, courses, time, power and sails. 

15 to 6kn easing winds from the West, slowing our progress to about 3kn, though still steering in a good direction towards Tristan da Cunha. Too much of a leisurely headway to reach the island in time for any chance of activities ashore. But also too slow to try to catch up with the good winds forecasted associated with a Low Pressure System moving Eastwards, located north of us. Time to start the engines, propelling us with 272 KW of power each. Europa’s speed now rises to 6.5 to 7kn. Next is to clew up all the 5 square sails in each Main and Fore Masts, and furl Royals and Top Gallants. A plan of action maybe for the next hours to a full day. 

Motorsailing under all her Staysails, the ship tries to gain ground on the way the island and towards the Southeasterly stronger winds, to ride the back of the cyclonic system to come, to sail again. 


Now figures that tell about the surface water temperature. Increasing from the colder ones further south to what represents the crossing of the Polar Front. But a change of colour and characteristics on the sea made for measuring again before and after crossing a visible line in its surface. A new drop to 5.4ºC. Characteristics surely related with the turbulent and mixing area of both the temperate Subantarctic and the Antarctic waters. Eddies, meanders, bends when the different water masses converge. In the area where she sails today, this meeting happening at just about the latitude of 50º South. 

A change in the Marine Ecosystem. Since the 12th of March we have been living into the Antarctic cold system of low temperature waters, from now we will be in the temperate seas north of the Antarctic Convergence Area.

Geschreven door:
Jordi Plana Morales | Expedition Leader

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