Polish yacht reaches the ends of the earth
PR dla Zagranicy
The ‘Selma’, a steel ketch mostly manned by a Polish crew, is the first yacht in history to reach the end of the Bay of Whales in the Antarctic Ross Sea solely under wind power.
The 'Selma' reaches the Bay of Whales on 9 February 2015. Photo: PAP/SELMAEXPEDITIONS.com/Piotr Lubaczewski
“We cannot sail any further,” skipper Piotr Kuźniar told the PAP news agency after reaching a latitude of 78°43’926” S, breaking the previous sailing record of 78°43’566” S set by ‘Katharsis II’, a British vessel manned by a Polish crew under Mariusz Koper.
The boat managed the feat at 2029 UTC on Thursday evening.
On reaching the coastline, Kuźniar managed to place a Polish flag on the shore which had been given to him by Polish president Bronisław Komorowski.
“We touched the ice of the Antarctic,” skipper Kuźniar said, underlining that the plan to reach the Bay of Whales had been done almost solely under wind power.
“On Wednesday for the first time since we set out [on 15 January from Hobart], we had to turn on the engines for just under three hours as we had to weather a Beaufort-scale 8 storm while sailing through an area of ice,” he said, adding that “we turned off the motors as soon as the danger had passed”.
“In total we sailed almost 700 hours under wind power alone.”
The crew had initially planned to sail to the place where Amundsen set off on his expedition in 1911 to the South Pole.
The ‘Selma – Antarctica – Endurance’ expedition is a multi-stage sailing voyage which takes in over 33,000 km, following in the path of the Antartic expeditions from over a century ago.
After visiting the island of South Georgia and Elephant Island in 2013, the yacht then sailed around Cape Horn. In the summer the ‘Selma’ crossed the Pacific following the course which Magellan took from Chile to Australia.
The yacht was manned by a crew of 11, ten Poles and one Czech national.
In December last year, the ketch successfully completed the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race. (jb)