Drake Passage, day2

Lars Alfredson
Sat 28 Jan 2012 23:08
Pos 60:47.7S 64:06.5W 28/1 20.00 local time

First the Swedish then Bobs blog.

Hej !

Två timmars vakt. Sova fyra timmar, Två timmars vakt. 11 på morgonen går vi över till att det är alltid någon som har en stunds vakt. Denna dag var det inte svårt, motorgång och solsken. Det var så bra att vi kunde sitta på däck. Solade, lyssnade på musik, läste eller löste korsord. Drake Passage visar sig från den rätta sidan tycker vi. Kursen är nordväst. Men där finns inte Kap Horn.

Varför inte sikta direkt på Kap Horn? För att få medvind hem vill vi att rätt lågtycket nästa har passerat. Lågtrycken snurra medsols här nere. Då blir det ju så att vi gör en båge västerut. Än så länge stämmer våra beräkningar.

Klockan är 19.00 seglar med full stor och genua 1. Farten är 5. 7 knop. Ton Ton har meddelat att middag serveras i kajutan klockan 20.


27012012 The Drake Passage

First we remove the engine lifting it with the small crane at and locking it onto the stern rail. Next as we pull the dinghy around to the bow ready for hauling out, I first see the ice field driven by the wind, advancing rapidly towards our bow.

By the time we've hoisted the dinghy aboard using the spinnaker halyard and lashed it down the ice arrives. The field consists of lumps of various sizes some as large as big refrigerator. Those that hit the anchor chain drive us forward until they break free, crashing and banging their way down the hull.

Their nearly all through when the last big one latches onto the chain, which has caught in a ravine in its middle. It must weigh a ton, and could cause some serious problems.When as we apply the winch, it turns over freeing itself to catch up with the rest of the field which blow onto and grounded on the reef behind us. Here like many before they will spend the day until the wind changes direction and tide rises to send them on their way.

The Sun is shining as we set out in 7 knots of wind, the seas are relatively calm. Admiratly Bay is in the middle of the Island we have the option to turn either way. As we need get as far west as possible to take advantage of the incoming Low, we turn right, South West down the shore.

Now the wind is abaft the beam on the starboard quarter (On the right hand side back of the boat ! though it sound nicer!) . We motoring along at approximately the same speed as the wind effectively cancel it chill factor out. Consequenly, clothing is being stripped off, with jackets, gloves and balaclava scattered around the cockpit. It's a wonderful start to the passage.

The wind picks up as we make our way down towards our next turning point and we come across some very large Bergs. The first one is populated by penguins though quite how the've managed to climb up its icy slopes to board it is a mystery.

I've been helming now for several hours and its quite exillerating in fresh wind and a long swell. The disadvantage thought is the return of the chill factor and having redoned my hat pulling the earmuffs tight, my gloves are fighting a loosing battle as my fingers freeze.

As we make the final turn into open ocean, the swell rises giving us a bouncy but steady ride as I handover to the Auto Pilot and join the others in the relative warmth of the Pilot House.

Nearing a large Berg we see a yacht coming towards us. It turns out to be Jerome, whom we last saw when we were tied up against him in the Falklands.Who'd have though that in all of this desolate ocean we would either meet another yacht let alone someone we knew! There are many strange happenings at sea.

After exchanging pleasantries on the radio we both continue on our way. Ships life starts to get into its routine of Shifts through the night. Urban and I have the first starting as 2200 to midnight and back on four hours later until 06:00. We have it organised so that our shifts more forward one slot each day, giving a little variety and evening our the good and bad ones.

Bob the Blog

28012012 En Passage

A hush settles over the yacht leaving us on our watch. Around 11ish the wind dies. We wind in the flapping jib, put the engine on and motorsail. By the end of our shift the wind starts to return so we roll our the jib again and add another two knots to our speed, running around 7 to 8 knots, so we reduce engine revs to save fuel but still making 6 knots to cover the ground.

04:00 back on watch. It's bitterly cold inside as well as out. We're still motor sailing with the wind is doing as forecast which is to drop even more as the day progresses. A red streak in the thin high cloud heralds the dawn and as we move further north we are starting to get a "Night" brief as it is.

It's a lovely sunny day and the crew are lying about the deck, fully kitted but jackets open, taking the rays. The long swell in an otherwise calm sea rock us up and down with and occasional big trying to catch the unwary. A flock of Cape (Painted) Petrels flies around us accompanied by the odd Black Browed Albatross and tiny Storm Petrels

While "others" lounge, Peters' below doing the washing up and I'm in the Pilot House writing this Blog. The sky is a clear light blue except for some wisps of high cloud. With the water temperature starting to rise to a crispy 3.2C.we chug along at just under six knots with the apparent wind, barely few knots more.

Joining the others on deck the Sun is wonderful as long as you can avoid the self generated breeze as we motor along. Lunch is served up through the hatch from the galley. Eating our Pasta washed down with refreshing tin of Quilmes beer, as we sit soaking up the rays and enjoying the very, "un" Drake Passage, weather.

This is amongst the most infamous sailing areas in the world, noted for its exceptionally mountainous seas and roaring gales that have broken many a fine ship. In the past square riggers could take months just to get around Cape Horn as they battled the conveyer belt of extremely deep and rapid forming Low Pressure systems.

Winds and seas in this area can whistle right around the world with no land mass to impede their progress. This, with the Lows can form a deadly cocktail for those who dare travel this way, a taste of which we had on our passage down to Antarctica.

Lunch over, the wind has risen enough for us to cut the engine (Which by now has dried my socks). Rolling out the number 1 jib, the main is set, driving us along at 5-6 knots. We travel up the hills and down the valleys of the long swell, formed by an earlier storm, as they advance towards us in an endless stream

The course is set to take us to the North West rather than the North North West direct line to Cape Horn. This will take us further West enabling us to take advantage of the change of wind direction we expect on crossing this low pressure system.

As the Sun sets the boys are on deck trying to find an alternate site to swap a block broken when we had an involuntary jibe on the way down. It had been rebuilt using the best bits of another broken one but has started giving us trouble yet again.

Bob the Blog