Animation of the wind that we had on Elinca

There’s now a reanalysis called ERA5 of the global weather from 1979 to the present day ( It seemed like a fun lockdown project to use this to visualise the weather that we had on Elinca in 2013 and 2014 during the trip to Antarctica and South Georgia. You can see these animations at

The position data comes from Elinca’s YB tracker that sent a position every eight hours and so I’ve linearly interpolated Elinca’s position between these fixes, which generally works ok unless we were passing around lots of headlands (see the delivery from Falmouth to Stornoway for an example of this going wrong!) Actual positions are shown with a green dot and interpolated positions use an orange dot.

The ERA5 data is courtesy of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. The animation library is by Creati at al. ( My code is available at in case it’s any use to anyone.

There’s loads more that could be done to improve the animations but I should probably leave it there and finally paint the bedroom doors.


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New adventure and new blog

Spring is almost here but although the weather outside is getting warmer our minds have already turned to the next ice filled adventure. Adventure 2016 will commence in Tromso (Norway) where we will sail west aiming for Greenland and the fijord of Scoresbysund that is only clear of ice, and therefore open to boats, for a few weeks a year.

Why are we going? Well, as always our main reason for going is just because it’s there, we want to see whatever there is to see and experience whatever there is to experience. We hope to see ice and mountains, beautiful summer plants and flowers, whales, birds, foxes and possibly walrus and polar bears too. We aim to walk on shore, ever wary of the bears, and, weather permitting, explore some of the glaciers that calve into the sound. This time we also hope to do some science both en-route and also in Scorsebysund – more on that later! The second half of our trip takes us south tracing the path of Vikings and calling at the north coast of Iceland, the Faroes and Shetland on our way to the Netherlands.

We’ve set up another blog… this should keep you up to date with our planning and preparations as well as with the trip itself… you can read about Adventure 2016 at

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Spaces on Anne-Margaretha this season in Antarctica and South Georgia

Hey all.  Our friends on Anne-Margaretha have some spaces on their Antarctic and South Georgia trips this winter (summer down there!) You can have a look at and see if you’re interested.  She’s a brilliant long distance cruising boat, luxury compared to Elinca, with an amazing skipper who has been to Antarctica 6 times before.

Here’s the booking form if you’re interested, or contact Greet through the website


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Leg 5 video – the first Antarctic trip

Thanks to Zoe Aukland for completing the Leg 5 video! Just think, this time last year we were putting the finishing touches to Elinca and readying her to set sail….


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Need a new blog to read?

If anyone’s wondering what they’re going to read now that Elinca’s blog has finished then here are two blogs from friends that we made along the way that may fill the gap left by the end of Adventure2013.

Niall Iain is currently in New York preparing his boat to row across the Atlantic to Stornoway:

Sarah Outen is currently sea kayaking along the Aleutian Islands to complete her crossing of the Pacific:

Both Sarah and Niall Iain would love to have Elinca’s supporters following their adventures.



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The reflective bit

I found it impossible to write anything meaningful on leaving Elinca in Stornoway.  Emotion was running high and there was a lot to do in a short time. We arrived at 4 am Saturday morning after a cracking last sail across from Skye, drank some champagne and then went to bed so that we could get up at 10am and start the big clean. The Stornoway homeless shelter did well out of us and the rest went into the bin leaving Elinca possibly cleaner than when we picked her up last September. More family met us in Stornoway. Jane (my mum) had sailed up from Holyhead as part of the delivery crew, Raffe’s mum Pippa met us on the dock side and Cliggys mum and brother arrived on the 9pm ferry. The return delivery, affectionately termed leg 13, then extended into Sunday and Monday. We seemed reluctant to leave each other so all stayed in an 8 bed hostel dormitory on the Saturday night. On Sunday the group split in two with James, Jon, Alice and Andy heading across to Ullapool on the one Ferry and Clare, Raffe, Jane, Pippa and Lynda taking the scenic route down to Harris and across to Skye.

On the way down we got a bit reflective and talked about what we were going to miss most, what we had learned and what we found the hardest.

Unanimously the final Atlantic crossing seemed to be the hardest bit for the long timers, a long time at sea when we were all physically so tired. Nevertheless this is also the leg that we dug deepest and into ourselves and used the ‘living with people’ skills that we had built up over previous legs. Some crew members told me that they had found life easier since returning from the boat, that they had more confidence and in some cases ‘more mojo’. Others it was a turning point in careers or relationships and a new leaf was turned on their return. For me it’s too hard to think about the trip as a thing that has ended. There have been so many spin-off ideas flying around that the general feeling seems to be ‘lets have more adventures’, ‘let’s do more sailing, more walking and let’s meet up more often’. So many people have told me that they had forgotten how good it is to be around people.

I can say now, without leaping to touch the nearest piece of wood, that everything went well. Give or take the odd moment everyone got on well and better than well. No-one was seriously hurt and the boat is still in a condition now that it could set off tomorrow and do it all again. For James, Jon, Colette and I this is the best possible outcome that we could have dreamed of and all that remains now is have a rest and then to plan the next adventure.

I’m really going to miss Elinca over the next few months, not for the boat itself but for the people that were on it and the atmosphere. I’m going to try and make real life a bit more like Elinca.


p.s that’s the mushy bit over. Future posts from me will only contain amusing photos or plans for future expeditions.

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Short and sweet today…tissues at the ready…

All coiled down and its time for us to go. Every sail furled in a neat harbour stow. Another ship for us and for her another crew, goodbye Elinca, good luck to you.

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Only “two channel crossings” from the end..

een a long motor to windward and Elinca is now approaching Oban where we will drop off our watermaker, our spinnaker and our personal locator beacons for OYT Scotland. Despite the lack of sailing it has been flat and the cleaning has been enthusiastic. You wouldn’t recognise her as the seasoned traveller of last week. I’m not saying that she is shining but at least bits of her reflect the light. More fun than cleaning has been the eating of the left over food and the dividing up of left over lost property. The Holyhead food bank did well out of us.

We’re now only two channel crossing from the end of our journey and its worth noting that the scenery looks very like tierra del Fuego. Since we have taken off most of the kit the waterline has lifted by a full two inches and 9 months worth of goose banicles are now drying out.

Cliggys Birthday is tomorrow, we won’t post her age on the internet but she’ll be treated to an Elinca cake with eggs.

Our final official blog will be Saturday. The space will then be open for crew members to add to and we are yet to debut Cliggy Potter!

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Sea Fever Poem

I was reminded by Nick’s mum that 9 months ago I’d promised to put the reworked Sea Fever poem on the blog. So here it is! It’s from the Assarain II Tall Ships Race in 2008 (effectively a round Britain sail, on a Sigma 38 at full capacity), but still rings true for many a sailing adventure:

I must go down to the seas again, on a sigma thirty-eight,

And all I ask is a GPS and a helm that can steer straight,

And the deck’s leak and the head’s pong and the host of muscles aching,

And a green look on the crew’s face, and a rig that won’t stop breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the VHF

Is a quiet call and a muffled call that was never at its best,

And all I ask is a windless day with the white sails dying,

And a strong tide and a rocky coast and a depth sounder that’s lying.

I must go down to the pubs again, to the sailors’ party life,

To the drinkers’ way and the dancers’ way where the land’s full of lovers’ strife,

And all I ask is another rum from a Captains Daughters rover,

And a long sleep, and a funny dream, in the hope that its not over.

Andy K

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The Elinca Baftas

Elinca is currently motoring off the welsh coast. There is fog and mist so thick that we didn’t see the lighthouse off the Pembrokeshire coast until we were two miles off it. The sea is flat and although we are disappointed not to be sailing we have seen puffins and dolphins on our way and the calm has given us a chance to pack up most of the boat. We have a lot of pasta left over and an over 40 kg of rice. When we were leaving Rio James impressed upon me the importance of having two or three extra weeks food. He talked about losing the mast and drifting for days and so I responded by buying rice and pasta to last about three years. We had a brief discussion over lunch about heading north and overwintering in the Arctic with it. A better idea seems to be to find a food bank in Holyhead and feed the poor of Wales with our left overs.

There are gaps all over the boat today where familiar things used to be. The pockets are down from the cabins and the foam that once covered Phuket is now stripped off. Raffe and Andy have both hit their heads on the sharp metal edges already reminding us why we put the foam there in the first place.

There was a request yesterday for a run down of prizes and nominations for anyone who wasn’t able to be there at our coming home party:

1) The Atlantic Swim award:
Nominees: James, Ali, Juliet, Andy R, Lynda, Ian, Cliggy, Nick, Gemma, Sarah.
Winner: Andy R – for swimming 30 m to the ice cliff and back to fetch ice for his gin and tonic. He did this with one dodgy leg and with only one arm as he was holding the ice in the other.

2) The ‘Tinder’ award: for romance on Elinca:
Nominees: Sarah and Dan, Jon and Alice
Winner: Sarah and Dan for longest lasting Elinca romance (both are still going).

3) The ‘Southern Cross’ award for furthest south romance:
Nominees: Cliggy and Jordan (skipper of Commitment), Zoe and Dave (Skipper of Pelagic), Gemma and Dicky (Base Commander of King Edward Point), Kirsty and Base Commander of  Vernadsky Base, James and Clare, Juliet and Ali, Fanny and Stafford,
Winner: it was necessary to point out that not all of these were actual genuine couples and the winner was Kirsty and Base Commander of Vernadsky Base. Base commander was an extremely drunk Urkranian seismologist who took a shine to Kirsty and declared that she could wear his hat and run his base for him.

4) The ‘Foghorn’ award for the loudest person on the boat:
Nominees: Rachel, Katrina, Nick and Jess
Winner: Rachel (though we have to add that we appreciate her enthusiasm and energy 🙂

5) The Music award:
Nominees: Andrea on guitar, Bill and Richard on vocals, Jonny on guitar and Di on ukulele (is that spelled right?)
Winner: this was an audience participation award and the loudest clap decided the winner… luckily the winner was Di and her ukulele because that is who I had already written on the certificate.

6) Photography award:
Nominees: almost everyone
Winner: John Theakston and his enormous lens

7) Nick Higson was awarded the ‘outstanding contribution’ award for being on almost all of the trip. For catching the only fish caught on the voyage and for progressing from crew to skipper over the 9 months.

8) The ‘Lancalot award’ for bravery was awarded to Katrina for resisting and shouting off a mugger in Rio. We recommend this is not attempted in every situation but it worked for her!

9) The ‘Great British Bake Off’ award:
Nominees: Sari, Richy, Nick, Sarah and Cliggy
Winner: Richy, for that curry on South Georgia that nobody can forget. Possibly the winner of the ‘come dine with me lamb’ competition we held there.

10) Lynda Groocock was awarded a prize for tolerance and for the most miles travelled without complaining. She is getting back onto the boat in Holyhead so we hope she keeps it up 🙂

11) The ‘Sam Vimes’ award for best watch leader:
Nominees: Cliggy, Clare, Jon, Andy R, Andy K, Jim and Nick
This went to Jim for his efforts in keeping his watch entertained. He once talked solidly for the whole four hours when his watch were too seasick to answer him.

12) The 40 mile watch award:
Although Elinca went fast for a lot of the trip there was only one 40 miles watch! This happened at the end of a Drake Crossing around the infamous Cape Horn. We had known the weather was coming and planned for it such that we were on a broad reach when it hit. Still we surfed in around the horn at surprising speed between 9 and 13 giving us an average of 10 knots over the four hour period.

13) The ‘Crimes against Neptune’ award:
Nominees: Jim, Clare, Jon, James, Cliggy, Chris, Nick, Jess, Andrea, Zoe, Andy R, Andy K, Heather, Norman, Sari, Bob, Emma, Raffe, Andy T, Sarah, Rachel, Alice and Lynda
Winner: Jess for having the most crimes submitted against her by her fellow crewmembers during the equator crossing ceremony and protesting her innocence when accused.

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