Fast Days on Horn Final Approach

1 Dec

November 26, 2018

Day 53

Noon Position: 55 35S  81 46W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExS 7

Wind(t/tws): W 20+

Sea(t/ft): W 10

Sky: Clear

10ths Cloud Cover: 0

Bar(mb): 1011+, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 57

Water Temp(f): 40

Relative Humidity(%): 65

Sail: Twins poled out, two rolls in each.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 168

Miles since departure: 6997

Avg. Miles/Day: 132

One gets to see first hand during weeks like this why the Clipper Route was the most efficient route around the world for commercial shipping prior to steam and the Panama Canal.

Mo has had consistently strong westerlies since November 15th, when she crossed into 39S, and has logged 150 miles a day or more on all except three of them, and one of those was 149 miles.

In the last seven days, we’ve sailed 1,078 nautical miles for an average of 154 miles per day. Four of those days were during the blow, where we made respectable but not fantastic time due to reduced sail and an extravagant sea. Yesterday and today, however, show what this bird can do off the wind with more than a handkerchief of a sail set. Today was particularly pleasing; 168 miles noon-to-noon and a steady 7 knots, hour after hour, all without pressing (the twins were rolled by a third).

The Horn looms now. We’re headed almost due east. As I type, Isla Diego Ramirez, the island I intend to pass south of as soon as Wednesday, is but 407 miles off.

Why Isla Diego Ramirez and not a pass by Cape Horn proper? Diego is about 50 miles south and west of the Cape Horn rock and, like my home island of the Farallones west of the Golden Gate Bridge, lies on the edge of the continental shelf. Between Diego and the Horn, water shallows quickly from a mean 15,000 feet to as little as 300 feet. Seas that have had the entire southern ocean in which to roam can stack up over this shelf and become dangerous in short order. There are more than a few stories of yachts rolled or pitchpoled in this area in dire weather.

So, for now, Diego is the target. We’ll keep an eye on the weather to see just how dire it wishes to be.

Basic chores in the afternoon. One was to repair Monte’s water paddle, now done.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage

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