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RTW Day 83 - Cape Horn to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - strong winds, BIG seas

Saturday 12th January, 2013

Heaved to overnight while heading past SE of Burdwood Bank, east of Isla de los Estados - wasn't completely convinced it was necessay but no harm in being safe in case winds got up more as forecast -a good night's sleep is always welcome!

8am Up for contact with Wolfgang on Patagonia Net - Geoff on 'Curare' helped with relay (he and Linda are slowly making their way south throgh the Chilean Channels)

The strong current kept taking us NE overnight - by the time I'd decided to sail on in the morning, we'd made 40 miles! Good that it was in roughly the right direction, although I wasn't happy that it was taking us directly over the Nova Scotia Ridge - mountains below the sea that rise steeply from 4,000m below sea-level to just 200-300m below... an area to be avoided in bad weather!ded

In fact, by morning, the current was taking us more NNE and I saw that we could still make a course to our original waypoint, avoiding the Ridge - which is what we did.

Wind seemed not too bad as we set off just before midday but soon increased to easily 30 knots and more - a lot more, it seemed at times - and seas were also big at 5-6m (20ft) ... impressive, mountainous seas!!

In the strong condiions, we had an amazing variety of birds for company until the night:
3 Cape Petrels dipped into the sea constantly nearby and the other birds included several different albatross soaring close by: both Wanderinga nd Royal - enormous! - and black-browed (a mature and a young with brown markings and yellow/grey bill) Also white-chinned and storm petrels.

They were all revelling in the rough, windy conditions... whereas I spent lot of time in the cockpit, to reassure myself that we were coping with the winds and big seas - which I was pleased to see we were! Every so often, the clouds would clear to give blue sky - it actually felt quite warm in the sun under the canopy (dodger) mid-afternoon! It took quite a few hours to get to our waypoint west of the NovaScotia Ridge and then we changed course to the NE - putting the wind and seas astern - it immediately felt calmer and it was a lot quieter.. But we did have a couple of squalls come by with sudden increased wind to get my attemtion.. Th wind has gradually eased towards evening but the seas will take a time to diedown.. We're rocking and rolling again!!

I seem to have a lot of wet gear now - which never dries properly - it's too cold! (I just put the heater on - it was 9C in the cabin, same as the sea temp) My shoes & socks are sodden - one of the many waves splashing over the boat sent a load of water into the cockpit - and over me, filling my shoes .... grrr!! My feet felt frozen very quickly ... it felt good once they were dry again... and socks changed... I should have had my boots on!

There was so much wind that the wind generator started overcharging the batteries - I just caught it in time! Fortunately, the solar panel regulator shows a winking red light if it stops charging the batteries because their voltage is up enough - and it caught my attention immediately.

About to move into time zone GMT - 3 hr .... at 53:30W - not far!

24hr DMG at 7pm local time (Chile time!) (2300GMT ): 107 n.ml. Cape Horn 491 n.ml. away (WSW). E. Falkland: 180 n.ml. (NW), S. Georgia: 559 n.ml. (100T).

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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