Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What a 24 Hours


What a 24 hours!  Last night all seemed fine for an approach to the horn with 35 knots of westerly wind.  Then as I approached the shallows the wind filled in to a solid 50 knots which in itself isn't too much and should be fast sailing, but then the seas.  Oh the seas at the Horn have a reputation for a reason and I am thankful I didn't see it in 70 knots like so many have. Some of whom rest in the graveyard of the seas below where LP and I struggled along.  One minute I needed more sail to keep up with the swell that was so steep and short and then at others I would be going too fast and slam into some weird swell from the other direction and feel the boat shudder as the bow went under the swell. 

On 2 occasions the bow felt like someone who was trying to come up for a breath of air desperately and she just couldn't break free until the boat was buried to the mast as the sail plan wanted to keep going and so it did.  Then the stern rose until the rudders got the breath of air the bow needed and let go of the water.  The boat would sit in this tenuous spot for a second although it felt like a year and then would fall on it's side to expose her under belly to the fury of the wave on the surface.  No wonder Derek got rolled in 70 knots trying to get around in 2003!

Then things began to abate as forecast and after a day of gybing to the Islas de Hornos I got the payoff.  I got to pass by the famous outcropping within a few miles at sunset under a mellow 20 knots reaching along with a beautiful southern sky coming and going with the rock bathed in periodic sunshine and even a rainbow.  The picture perfect moment for my 3rd time around the infamous landmark.

Now I am expecting to watch the breeze continue to diminish and by the time I am truly clear and in the South Atlantic on the other side of the Straits of Le Maire I will be parked and if the forecast is accurate patiently waiting for the others to round so we may re-start this leg for the final push.  Ughh!