One team blazing along this weekend is Turn the Tide on Plastic. With Southern Ocean veterans like skipper Dee Caffari and navigator Brian Thompson leading the way, the team has worked its way to the head of the leaderboard at 1300 UTC, racing along at nearly 22 knots – the fastest in the fleet.

Reporter Sam Greenfield writes about the extreme conditions onboard Turn The Tide on Plastic:

“Here’s a great lesson in commitment to be learned from offshore sailing. In every other sport you can step off the field when the feeling’s not right.

Not out here.

Tonight feels like survival mode, which isn’t promising because it’s supposed to get worse in a few days.

We are wrecked. Wet. Tired. Chilled. Bundled. Raw. The inside of the boat feels like a paint shaker and jumps off waves like a sinister rodeo bull. Speaking of, I just got thrown off the chair into the bulkhead. The boat is half the time sailing under the ocean and the sailors up on deck are clipped in for a white-knuckle ride battling solid walls of cold water in the dark.

Maybe sending it in this most wild and remote corner of the ocean is a similar feeling to being strapped in a rocket capsule just after lift-off. I’m not interesting in finding out.

Tonight is brutal, but at least we’re on starboard tack for a bit of time. Last night was spent gybing. Endlessly. Everyone watched the sun set and then rise and everything in between.

Today we’re experiencing the first of two lows. This is the small one, with winds only getting up to the low 30s. Tomorrow there’s a bit of relief and then a 40 knot plus ass kicker with 9-meter swell bears down on us and takes us all the way to the Horn, which Dee says is five days away.

Until then we’re living one step and hand hold at a time.

Lat: 51’15
SouthLong: 134’55
WestBoatspeed: 21-33 kts
Windspeed:29-34 kts
Air Temp: 7.89°C
Sea Temp: 7.7°C

Fun Fact: We passed the international date line two days ago and had no idea.”


Text and Photo credits: Sam Greenfield, Turn The Tide on Plastic onboard reporter