by Bob Williams
As Russian solo circumnavigator Fedor Konyukhov closes to within 1,000 miles of Cape Horn, extreme iceberg presence in the South Atlantic, east of the Cape has forced the Antarctica Cup organisers to close a section of the Inside Lane of the Racetrack.
Google Earth image today showing position of large icebergs (over 10k) and track taken by Fedor Konyukhov towards Cape Horn
Bob Williams, the CEO of the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race Management said today 'The large number of icebergs highlighted yesterday by the C-Core Ice Tracking Service show that these now extend to the north of South Georgia Island (54° 15S, 36° 45W) . As a precaution we have therefore taken the decision to close the adjacent section of the INSIDE LANE between Longitude 20 W to Longitude 50 W (GATE 11) until further notice.
As a further precaution we have also placed a 'YELLOW FLAG ALERT' over the CENTRE LANE from Longitude 30° W to 50° W. Icebergs are expected to extend well north of South Georgia Island and can be expected in this sector of the CENTRE LANE. Entry to this sector should be avoided. If entry is considered necessary this should be limited to the northern most reaches of this sector. Extreme caution must be exercised in this sector at all times. '
Williams added. 'We are monitoring the situation on an hourly basis. No one has ever raced across these extreme latitudes east of Cape Horn before. All other long distance ocean races trace a route back up into the Northern hemisphere after rounding Cape Horn, so up until now there has been very little data available for this sector of our Racetrack . Even Jon Sanders, who pioneered a route around Antarctica back in 1981/2 went north around the Falklands before continuing east to complete the first of his two circumnavigations. No one expected this many icebergs to be emanating from the Weddell Sea. Fedor may be feeling the cold at this time, but the sight of all these icebergs is a clear sign that global warming is real.'