The Sailor’s Journey – 6

The story of the Roma Ocean World, or the self-sustaining sailing adventure of Matteo Miceli, sponsored in part by Leica Geosystems, continues with us finding Matteo just off the Cape of Good Hope.

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Last we’ve heard, Matteo’s been fighting in the dark with the large and swelling waves and the strong westerly winds known as the Roaring Forties, which are found around the Cape of Good Hope. There are 5 feet high waves at 35-40 knots ( roughly 70 Km/h ). Not an easy task to do alone at night. The ferocious winds and waves of the Cape have fascinated, and at the same time, been dreaded by sailors throughout history. Most seafarers these days are spared this infamous route, thanks to the construction of the Panama channel in 1914 and the Suez Canal in 1869.

Not the Eco40. This is the first real test of the Eco40 sailboat’s durability and performance, when facing the stress of waves exceeding 40 knots.

Not only does Matteo have to deal with wind and waves, there are also icebergs to maneuverer around and night sea temperatures are roughly 13°F (-1°C). Below you will see a short video of what Matteo is dealing with.

The kitchen aboard the Eco40 has a small electric frying pan, where Matteo can fry the fish he catches or the eggs the hens lay. He also has a water kettle to boil water. These use up approximately 8 amps each and are used a maximum of 15 minutes a day. The boat also has a desalinator, which takes the salt out of the water, and is switched on for one hour every four days. Now that it’s cold outside, the desalinator works less efficiently and gets rid of less salt. That was why Matteo started to make and store small amounts of water a few weeks back.

The Eco40 communications and autopilot also uses approximately 2 amps for 20 minutes a day, and the freezer to hold the fish caught uses about 4 amps.

The panels, even if cloudy, load, and from morning till nightfall have stored between 15- 20 amps. The hydro turbines helps when there is absolutely no sun, producing about 8 – 10 amps and the batteries on the Eco40 are easily loaded to more than 96% capacity and by morning still have at least 75%.

Before leaving Rome, the doctors imposed a daily diet for Matteo of chicken eggs, fish and sprouts. Supplementing this are 100 grams a day of dried fruit and carbohydrates from energy bars and freeze-dried bags of food. Not a whole lot of food or variety for anyone, especially not a man working on a sailboat day in and day out.

Before starting on this adventure, a judge came on board the Eco40 and checked the food supplies amounts and will check them again when he returns. The human body is capable of adapting to extremes that none of us are even aware of – and Matteo proves this on his self-sustaining journey. It is almost a shame that no doctor decided to do some scientific research of the effects of this trip on Matteo’s body. Matteo had a full physical check-up before leaving and hopefully, on his return, some doctor will come forward to evaluate his physical condition on his return. So far he has lost 10 kilo and feels great.

At the moment no fish are biting – maybe this has to do with the cold water temperatures?

Speaking of cold temperatures, ice was recorded on the satellites, showing a 800km long and 200km wide strip. The grouped objects range in size from about 2 km to 500 m in circumference, most likely icebergs. Here is an image documenting this strip, which is absolutely unsuitable for the Eco40. The Globalstar satellites have stopped working in this area and now the boat receives tracking service from Wisdom.

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Good winds and great sailing, Matteo!

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