On Conrad's Menu....Cape Horn

Position 53 Degrees 34 South 101 Degrees 07 West
1000 Nautical Miles to Cape Horn

You’ve heard me talk about the cold, and with the sea water temperature now down to 7 Celcius as we traverse a spur of cold water pushed up from Antartica, it keeps getting colder. However, I’m not one to sit by and shiver so I thought I would tell you a little about what I am doing to stay comfortable and ready to perform down here.

Emails from the boats MAR 12, 2015 16:48

As the Spirit of Hungary can’t be driven from under cover like a number of our competitors, we either need to face the brunt of this latest Southern Ocean storm at the helm….. or, we can let Knut the autopilot drive for us while we keep a hand on the mainsheet and a finger on the autopilot control. With cold water and regular gusts of 50 kts outside, its an easy choice. The person on watch still needs to be ready to intervene at a moments notice however, so we’re dressed in our Musto water proof salopettes and boots, with the jacket on standby ready to hand. Underneath that I have one or two insulated jackets, a thin polar fleece top and a long sleeved merino wool base layer. On the bottom I have a pair of thick wooly socks, merino long underpants and an extra thick prototype mid-layer salopette. All that and I’m still cold sometimes!

When I’m off watch I’ll jump into my 5 Degree mummy style sleeping bag which felt excessive in the shop hasn’t proved to be overkill these last few weeks. I protect the sleeping bag from residual moisture with a bivvy bag, a kind of mini tent shell. My secret weapon is a pair of down insulated base camp boots used by mountain climbers to keep my tootsies warm and toasty.

Layers on the outside is only half battle as I also need to stoke the inner fire to stay warm. With my fat stores reducing, eating enough during the day is absolutely key as I have less stored energy available and less natural insulation! Here’s a list of what I ate today which, with the exception of the orange from New Zealand, is pretty representative of my southern diet. Add in a generous handful of peanuts and I’m well over 2500 calories for the day. This count is assisted by incredible sugar and fat bombs like the Fuzion flapjack that come in nut, dried fruit, chocolate and raspberry (!) varieties since it’s pretty hard to get a lot of calories as a vegetarian in frieze dried food!

Porridge with Raisins and a cup of coffee
Kellogs Nutri Grain Breakfast Bar 182 calories
Barley-Lentil Risotto 498 calories
Fuzion Flapjack 809 calories (with more coffee)
Cream of Potato Soup 413  calories
One fresh NZ Orange
Soy and Mushroom Pasta 387 calories

I have just been reading South, by Ernest Shackleton, as a way of putting what we are doing in perspective. Escaping from a ship crushed by Antartic ice pack with only little rowing boats is justifiably one of humanities greatest stories of survival, even if it does make me look like a modern softey by comparison!

Hats of to fellow former Mini 6.50 sailor Nick Bubb for recently reenacting the escape from Elephant Island and successfully making the crossing to South Georgia Island in an open boat with period correct food and equipment!