Sunday, February 20, 2011

Be Good to Me Isla de Hornos

I have been working really hard to stay in front of a low pressure system as I make my way to rounding the infamous Cape Horn. It has not been terribly easy, with a ball joint that broke free on my steering system, forcing me to put in several hours of repair. I did take some video of the situation and hopefully you will be able to see that soon at I’m currently about 150 miles from Isla de Hornos, the actual rock, or landmass, I will see if I am lucky enough to get a glimpse of it as I pass through this corridor for the third time in my life. How many people have rounded Cape Horn three times? I have no idea, but I can’t imagine it is many.

My mission has been to stay in front of this weather system so that I continue optimum downwind conditions and also keep the intensity of winds and waves under control. Well, I have accomplished ½ of my mission. I’ve remained in front of the low pressure system, so the wind direction is good, but it is gusting to 50 knots and the waves are huge. I was hoping to hang on to 25-30 knots of breeze, but it is hootin’ out here and I am paying close attention to everything onboard. Le Pingouin is wiping out once in a while and I am just hoping to get through the next 6-8 hours unscathed. It is freezing cold and at times I can’t feel my fingers. Despite the conditions, I have to try my best to be gentle with LP. Preserving this bird that can’t fly, means preserving my own well being and also keeping me in the race.

It is emotional coming upon such a landmark. I really hope I get at least a short visual of The Horn. Right now I can only see about three boat lengths in front of me due to the mist and waves. Although it is very intense right now with the wind amped up and towering waves, I believe it may mellow out a bit by the time I am there. My best guess right now is rounding The Horn in the afternoon or early evening tomorrow, Feb 21.

Thanks for checking in and following the race. If you have not joined the Team Lazarus/Le Pingouin Cape Horn Crew, this is your last chance. In addition to the obvious duties I will be attending to, Meg has supplied me with about three dozen beautiful photos of Le Pingouin and a Sharpie for personal messages as I reach Cape Horn. Check it out at:


Some Background/History (from Wikipedia):

Hornos Island (Spanish: Isla Hornos) is a Chilean island at the southern tip of South America. The island is mostly known for being the location of Cape Horn. It is generally considered South America's southernmost island, but the Diego Ramírez Islands are farther south. The island is one of the Hermite Islands, part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.

The Chilean Navy maintains a station on the island, consisting of a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse;[1] A short distance from the main station is a memorial, including a large sculpture featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in honour of the sailors who died while attempting to "round the Horn".[2]

The island is within the Cabo de Hornos National Park.

Mean Temperature: 5.3° Celsius

Maximum Temperature: 20.5° Celsius (February 1996)

Minimum Temperature: -14.5° Celsius (June 1992)

Mean Relative humidity: 86.4 %

Mean Wind Direction: 264°

Mean Wind Speed: 84 knots

Maximum Wind Speed: 119 knots(August 1995)

Rainfall (yearly mean): 697.5 mm.

Maximum Rainfall: 1263.2 (1990)