An hour before dawn yesterday morning, sailors with disABILITIES onboard KAZ, were deep in the southern ocean, 671 nautical miles south east of Cape Leeuwin, attempting to avoid a high which could see them caught with no wind for up to 36 hours.
The group, who are experiencing extreme cold, are two sail reaching towards Tasmania's southern most tip, Maatsuyker, now 920 miles to the East, in a 10-15 knot southerly. The waning moon is occasionally visible though the patchy cloud.
On the northern edge of the large high, south of the Great Australian Bight, conditions are likely to lighten over the next 12 hours.
The KAZ crew are hoping the approaching frontal system some 600 miles behind them will not slip too far below them to provide some much needed wind as they sail towards their southern turning point.
Weather guru, Roger 'Clouds' Badham, last night advised the crew, 'to stay ahead, you need pushing hard east - east-south-east towards 43/130east (latitude and longitude), but if the high does catch you, then you'd be better at 45S! Nothing we can do about this at the moment, and by the time it becomes really clear that the high will swallow you, the breeze will soften from
south-south-south-east, so it's hard to get south!
If that happens, then we'll hope for south-east - east-south-east winds, and drift south looking for the new breeze when the high ridge withdraws.
Until then, push hard. I'm looking at ALL models and some are very definite that the ridge will get you tomorrow night... but those that move the ridge quickly, also lift it more quickly, and take the breeze to the south west of west. They also move the high to Tasman ahead of you... but still some soft winds off the east coast and also north-northwest.'
Whilst KAZ is still ahead of record pace, the next 24 hours could be critical; it is almost impossible for KAZ to avoid the high that is chasing them.
Skipper, David Pescud, and his crew are doing all in their power to keep their Lyons 54' going, praying that their dream of a world-record does not come to a halt so close to home.
Fortunately, KAZ is quick in light airs, her experienced offshore racing crew used to the whimsical nature of the weather.