Update from Dee's shore team, plus listen to Elaine Bunting's podcast about ice with Skip Novak here - 4/3/06

Hear Elaine Bunting’s podcast interview with Skip Novak about the dangers of ice in the Southern Ocean by clicking here

Dee is heading north-west after encountering ice in the Southern Ocean 800 miles south-west of Australia. Dee sighted six icebergs since 2200GMT on Thursday [she has seen numerous others since]. She reported sailing between a group of three icebergs yesterday.

Says Aviva Challenge Project Director Andrew Roberts: “At times like these I’m very pleased that Aviva is a strong steel yacht but it is still hazardous to be amongst the ice and even more so at night and alone. I don’t recall reports of so much ice in any of our 50 crossings of the Southern Ocean.”

Dee is keeping watch visually and has set up a ‘guard zone’ on her radar that will trigger an audible alarm. Information on the distribution of ice in the Southern Ocean is extremely scarce compared with the North Atlantic, as there are few ships or commercial requirements for satellite observations. No accurate predictions or detailed observations are available for the area Aviva is sailing in.

Aviva is equipped with a Raymarine RL 80C radar which has a range of 24 miles. The Raymarine radar has proved very effective but relatively small bits of ice can be invisible and will still do significant damage to the rudder.

In most sea conditions the radar should detect icebergs with a waterline length of 10 metres or more as long as there is a significant amount of ice above the waterline. As a further precaution, Dee has closed off the watertight door into the forward (bow) compartment.

Since sighting the icebergs, Dee has tacked to the north-west as per her planned weather strategy. The conditions are moderating but the sea state is described as ‘sloppy’.

Dee reported that the sea surface temperature is starting to rise, but she commented: “I’ve never seen so much ice, its very worrying. I need to find a way out of here.”