Nereida – Cape Horn
At 11:27:44 pm (local Chile time), we passed the longitude of the Cape Horn LH and started changing course for the start of our Atlantic crossing! I announced it to the Pacific Seafarers’ Net, on the radio just then, who shared the excitement with me! (Someone blew a trumpet!) In the south, a streak of clear sky showing daylight above the horizon, grey clouds everywhere else in the not-so-dark(!) sky, a big swell, but sea not as rough as earlier. With the wind from S-SSW, I eased the sheets for our new course of 076T – we made 6.5kt and rolled in the seas. Life felt good! It’s absolutely unbelievable that today is precisely two years on from my first rounding of Cape Horn, two days after the horrible experience of my knockdown on 5th January 2011. I really have had a difficulty with seeing the coincidence of the dates, having passed well S of that knockdown position just two days ago.
The rest of today: 9:45am Woke up at 7am, having left us drifting around sometime after 3am in disgust, with almost no wind and even the AP unable to keep us on course, with no boat speed for steerage. Found us heading SW at nearly 4 kt… oops!! Hurriedly came up on deck to sort us out – difficult initially, not knowing quite where the wind was coming from! Eventually got us roughly on course, after several times finding us hove-to and having to gybe around each time (not enough boat speed to allow us to tack!) to try to get us as close on the ESE wind as possible on starb’d tack. Found our best course was only 070T at 2.5-3kt, but being on wind steering would help. With wind expected to veer more to S, I hoped our course would improve – which it slowly did, following the wind around.
Pulled the traveller up to windward to help our speed and by 9.30am we were making 086T at over 4kt. Not quite our preferred course of 100T but that will probably come -and we could possibly take a ‘short cut’ over the edge of the continental shelf I’ve been avoiding, if the wind doesn’t get up too strongly. Later, the wind increased and we were making easily 7 knots in 5m seas… with one or more black-browed albatross for company a lot of the dark grey, cloudy day. I eventually furled in some genoa towards nightfall, not so much because I needed to but just to be safe in case the wind increased any more – but in fact, soon after, the wind lessened!
9:20pm 12 miles/2hrs away from being due S of Cape Horn and my turning point into the S. Atlantic. I have to admit to sitting here feeling quite excited – I think it’s catching! I’ve had so many emails from friends and other people I’ve not even met, who are getting excited about me being so close to Cape Horn – and especially looking forward to me getting around safely this time! It feels so cold now (sea is only 8C and cabin regularly 11C – I put on the heater for a time this evening!), so I’ve started on my warming cup–a-soups. Made my second dehydrated meal – lamb, veg and mashed potato, as I waited for us to get to our turning point and change of course. I was surprised at its taste and texture – not bad! Followed it with my last mince pie and a big slice of Christmas cake, washed down with a mug of tea.
24hr DMG at 7pm local time (Chile time!) (2300GMT ): 62 n.ml. (slow, with so very little wind a lot of the time) Cape Horn 100 n.m. away (on 017T) and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, 101 n.ml. S of C. Horn, was 29 n.m. away. The nearest island, Isla Gonzalo, the S-most of Islas Diego Ramirez, 66 n.m. away to NNW. W. Falkland: 409 n.m., E. Falkland: 434 n.m., S. Georgia: 1028 n.m. (ENE). Land is only just still showing on my AIS screen – the islands around Cape Horn, just over 100 miles away.