ABOARD THE ALASKA EAGLE, at sea in the South Atlantic — We departed South Georgia Island on short notice.
Our weather routers, New Hampshire-based Commanders' Weather, gave us an immediate "go" when we asked for a good departure date within the week. So we sailed for Buenos Aires five days early to increase our chances of avoiding extreme weather on our 1,600-mile journey from South Georgia Island.
The Alaska Eagle's eight-leg schedule demands being on time for changing our student crews. A worst-case scenario is departing with a bad forecast because of a deadline. Even with a good forecast, you can't expect a smooth voyage in this part of the world, where the latitudes are known by sailors as the "Furious Fifties" and the "Roaring Forties."
Starting at 53 degrees south, we sailed northward through 18 degrees of latitude in eight days. The rise in temperature was dramatic as we sailed almost due north. We crossed the Antarctic Convergence within 36 hours, leaving the Circumpolar Current in our wake.