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From the 60’s to the 50’s latitudes

Good sailing in the Drake. Crossing the Antarctic Convergence Area.  

8,9,10 kn, the speed of the Old Lady on her race across the Drake Passage. 

25, 30, 35kn, the strong good southwesterly winds pulling us to Ushuaia.  

Take your chances here, don’t linger in the Drake if it gives you fair winds to sail fast, no matter the calculations that can be made at the moment of the possibility of a bit of an early arrival to the Beagle Channel. Make good use of the winds you need when you have them, you never know what the Drake can have stored in its pocket if you don’t take the seldom good opportunities it gives. 

Good but hard sailing for most of the day. The growing swell breaks upon Europa’s hull, her decks are wet. But she feels in her environment, she pushed hard in a northwesterly direction first, then later on she straightened her course more northwards with the easing winds, taking them more from her back. 

3, then 4, and afterward by the end of the day 5 are the square sails set per mast in the easing winds. 

60’s to 50’s degrees South. Great progress from the Screaming to the Furious latitudes along the 183nm sailed in the last 24 hours.  

1.4º, 2.0º, 3.6ºC, The surface water temperature. Behind the cold Antarctic waters, ahead the temperate Subantarctic realm. 

Around the whole of the Antarctic Continent, the colder denser waters from the South, sink along this area under the lighter and warmer waters from the North, creating an area of mixing and vertical turbulence in the ocean surface layers. 

The rapid temperature change on the water surface around those latitudes is linked to the clockwise run of the massive Antarctic Circumpolar Current, one of the world’s great ocean flows. A belt of the open ocean that doesn’t find any continental mass on its way as it flows around Antarctica, allowing for the development of big seas and creating a straight highway for Low-Pressure Systems. Conditions that developed the swells and strong winds that had made famous those southern latitudes, the Roaring 40’s, Furious 50’s, and Shrieking 60’s. 

Written by:
Jordi Plana Morales | Expedition Leader

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