Since rounding the horn the sailing conditions have been, ummm... different! After averaging 13 knots from the start in New Zealand to the Horn, in a classic Southern Ocean drag race and experiencing the rounding of a lifetime, the change of pace feels something like I imagine it must feel like coming back from battle to civilization.
At first the quiet was welcome and I tended to many boat a personal chores that had been neglected. Then I had the next awesome chance of a lifetime and slowly tacked my way through the Straits of Le Maire. The Straits are a channel of water that separates the final little island, that is the extreme tip of South America, and the mainland. The currents and crazy winds are notorious and getting the chance to go through there is always only a small percentage of likelihood. It turned out when I got to the mouth that the tides were right, so I went for it.
I had done the same thing downwind during the night my first solo adventure through this area, on Balance Bar, and was really jazzed to see it in the daylight. By the time I shot out the other side and into the green waters of the South Atlantic I had a whopping 4 knots of boatspeed through the water in nearly no wind, but was doing 11 knots over the bottom! Yikes, if you aren't well set up for that current it could be a very bad day and I can see why there are so many shipwreck icons on the charts of the area. I might add tourism is alive and well in the Cape Horn area and 2 cruise ships not only graced my presence but broke the virgin wild nature of the moment.
Then after a couple hours of watching the swirling eddies, overfalls and whirlpools of the crazy tides the show was over and I was officially flushed into the Atlantic with as much fallen timber and kelp as I have ever seen. So as I slowly proceeded and sailed upwind dodging the flotsom the excitement of the whole episode wore off and now I am really ready to get back at it. Suit me up and throw me back in the battle!
I have cleaned, eaten and slept and want my 13 knot averages back! Unfortunately it doesn't work that way though and I will be battling all sorts of new weather from upwind to downwind light and moderate (hopefully not too heavy) and ticking the mellower miles off, and dreaming of the very bitchin barbecue the Uruguayans have figured out.