Rich Wilson

Slow Progress North

26 Jan

We’re about 900 miles east northeast of Buenos Aires, so we’re making slow progress north. We are trapped in a big depression, yet again. We keep finding the 35 knot, upwind parts of the South Atlantic. We bailed out last night into the center of it, just to get less wind, and try to make our way up the inside edge of it, a little bit. As the depression diminishes, we are hoping we don’t get overtaken by the very low wind in the center. We want to get to the 25 knot winds that we can use to get ...

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Crashing, Crashing, Crashing

25 Jan

We’re making some progress north, or, we’re trying to. We just got clobbered through the night, with 30 knots of wind, upwind, into the big building seas, and crashing and crashing and crashing. This morning, we’re at the edge of a big low pressure system. We had gale warnings yesterday and we’re a little bit just past north of the area for the gale, but it doesn’t make any difference. This stream of wind continues very far north, and is strong. What we’re trying to do, degree by degree, is move to the west.

We’re hard on the wind, steering ...

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Another Gale Warning

24 Jan

January 23, 2017: Sunset

A good night last night as well. I was able to get the sails set well, and the boat went upwind well. We were not going fast enough to catch up, but the boat was sailing well, and sometimes that must be reward enough.

I slept a variety of naps, getting up as usual about very hour to take a look. My best time for sleeping is in the early morning, 0400-0800 approximately. When I awoke to a different motion of the boat, I knew I had to get up, but I just wanted to cry ...

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A Much Better Night

23 Jan

A much better night than the previous one. We found a slot going northeast on our targeted course, at high speed and easy on the boat. Genoa and full mainsail, then solent and one reef, pulled us along at 12 knots, surging to 14 or 15 knots, and in the middle of the night, we had bioluminescence in the wake, not bright as it can be, but there nonetheless. The sea temperature in today’s daily data may explain it – 78 degrees F. Swimming temperature!

It all came to a screeching halt this morning though, as I knew it would. ...

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Exhausted & Demoralized

22 Jan

A very bad night last night. Our weather GRIB files, 2 different models, predicted big areas of 20 knots or 25 knots of wind from the north. Instead we had 35 knots of north, steady, up to 38, which created a big wave situation, with cresting seas 12-15′ high. This went on most of the afternoon. And then suddenly, nothing. The wind dropped to zero in just a few minutes. We knew we were approaching a front (even though the special fronts section of our weather website didn’t show it). The boat, with full keel, and 4 ballast tanks full, ...

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Making Good Miles

21 Jan

Back into the fog last night, solent and full main, and finally solent and one reef as the breeze increased. We have a radar but it seems to not be very effective, we have a radar detector, which is effective, but it only alerts when another vessel has their radar on, and we have AIS. Still, bit unnerving sailing at 12 knots without knowing exactly what may/may not be around.

So making good miles, and now have another strong wind session. We have a strange beep at the chart table that only occurs from time to time. I think it’s ...

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20 Jan

Last evening, I came on deck to see the sun and Venus setting. The sky was clear and blue and Venus was amazingly sharp and bright. I had had a Skype talk last week with Murray Lister, Expert, and he said that when aboard New Zealand Pacific, heading east across the Southern Ocean, if he had the morning watch, he would make a point to look for Venus rising ahead. He said that sometimes it seemed so sharp that it almost crackled with intensity, as if sparks would come off it. That’s the way it looked last night, just amazing....

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Stars & Moon

19 Jan

It was a long approach to Cape Horn, and then a long passage around Diego Ramirez Island and the continental shelf, and then a long gybe Northeast up the leeward edge of the shelf and then to arrive at the entrance to Straits Lemaire. Once through there, and suddenly in the lee of the continent, the seas smoothed, a sharp horizon appeared, the sky cleared to show blue among the clouds that had light rain, and there was a sun. It was like night and day.

Into the 18th, we went west of the Falklands Islands, behind Alan ...

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Land HO!

17 Jan

“Rich Wilson aboard Great American IV. And behind me, is the southern ocean and Cape Horn, that we passed, about 29 miles off, this morning, going past Diego Ramirez Island. Now we’re heading north. Typically a question is always how do you get past Staten Island? So we came up here and here is Land HO! It’s amazing.”


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The Route Around Cape Horn

16 Jan

I’m going to you a show a little bit of a primer about why we’ve chosen our route here, out around the Continental Shelf off Tierra del Fuego:


56° 48’S x 71° 11’W
90° True
10.6 knots
20, 796
True Wind Speed
20 knots
True Wind Direction
Sails (click for diagram)
Mainsail (2 reefs), Staysail
Air Temperature
43°F / °C
Sea Temperature
47°F / °C

Winch Pedestal Revolutions (daily) Amp Hours: Alternator (total) Amp Hours: Solar (total) Amp Hours: Hydro (total) Amp Hours: Wind (total)
4489 1376 17,666 2979
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