February 8, 01:00 UTC Pos: 61 59'S 060 35'W
"Fair seas, following winds and royals all the way!"
...shouts Nilla from the quay in Ushuaia when we push off. "I hope ..." I think to myself on the fore deck; the sun is shining blue skies, but in this part of the world a beautiful forecast can develop into a lowpressure system from hell overnight. The adagium "hope for the best and prepare for the worst" springs to mind, and the crew who have sailed some years "before the mast" are Southern Ocean veterans.
Prepared for the Drake
And although we love the ocean we never forget the forces which can be unleashed. Our crew has prepared the Europa for the Drake; light-weather stun'sail gear, skysail masts and yards are down rigged to deck. To lower the center point of gravity and reduce windage to increase stability, they will not to be seen until we leave the Southern Ocean. The strongest suite of sails are bend on to withstand the trials, and we even bend on a tri-sail on the boom of the mizzen in case we need to heave to and ride the weather out.
Another 45 Miles
Safety lines and nets are rigged up to keep permenant and voyage crew on their feet. We turn out of the sheltered Beagle channel and the helmsman repeats the given course: ONE-SIX-FIVE: We're ready! Four days go by, and the wishing wells have hold their promise, we've had lulls and gales but overall the weather has been steady, giving us the best sailing conditions imagineable: following seas and royals all the way! Another 45 Miles to go to Desolation Island, tommorrow morning we will drop anchor in Blythe Bay, our latest forecast shows our running Bft F5 wind by then will have died down to perfect Bft F3 landing conditions.