The rigours of sailing in the harsh conditions of the Scotia Sea have taken a toll on our sails. A few days ago the Fore Top Gallant gave up holding one of its seems and was replaced. Today, the Outer jib with a panel ripped had made its way too towards the aft of the ship, and now both are taken care of in the ship’s library. Assessing the damage, prepare the repair, get new canvas, stitch and saw, it all will take some time before they are ready to be bent-on again.
In the meantime, the seas and weather don’t want to give us a truce. Southwesterly 25 to 30kn winds fight against our intentions to sail more south or westwards at least. Braving the swells, against the currents and dealing with the blinding snow squalls, Europa sails on a WNW course. To steer higher in the wind it was necessary in the afternoon to clew up the Courses, furl them and start the engines to head on a more westwards direction, manoeuvres affected too by the repeated 40kn blows and snow showers that freeze ropes and coils and numb our bodies while standing watch on deck. The evening brought winds blowing more from the South, making for retaking the chance to keep sailing high to the wind, towards the west with no need from the engines.
The ice conditions prove to be challenging too in combination with the poor weather. The Weddell Sea, with its large amount of sea-ice and the several ice shelves that reach its coasts, seems to have been particularly active in the recent times. Overall circumstances worth to keep an eye on.
For the moment, our first intentions to sail straight towards the Northern Antarctic Peninsula have been altered by the prevailing winds. For days, the ship is hit by the strong blows that make their way northwards after they have travelled over the glaciated lands of the Peninsula and the icy waters of the Weddell Sea.