Mina2 Weathers The Inevitable Drake Shake

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Sat 21 Jan 2012 23:04

Position: 56:25S 067:28W

32 Miles SSW of Cape Horn

Date / Time: 21 January 2000 (2300 UTC)


It came as no surprise. It was the best weather window we could find in over a week, but a bit of a slap was forecast at the end of the Drake crossing. We are now approaching the end of the Drake crossing and a slap we are getting. The winds are now over 40 knots (a full gale) and the seas have built to probably 4 metres. The yankee (big sail at the front) has been furled away leaving the small staysail and a well reefed main. We’re being chucked around a fair bit which makes the simplest things a struggle. Just disrobing to go to the loo takes ages as one impersonates a pinball in the heads.


We haven’t had as many seabirds on the crossing as we would have liked, but this afternoon we got a handful of Wandering Albatross criss crossing around us. Richard got out his camera and clicked away. He now has several dozen photographs of sea and sky and barely a wingtip of an albatross.


This afternoon, for some inexplicable reason, I got a craving for Betty Crocker muffins for tea. What a palaver. As I got bounced around the galley there was more of the mixture on the floor, ceiling and walls than there were in the inadequate muffin cases. Eventually they came out of the oven. For some reason they were completely flat. Everyone looked at them in dismay. “They look fantastic” said Richard, although he was being literal rather than complimentary. “Wow” said Ewan on one of his rare excursions from his bunk “are they edible?”. Peter said “These look absolutely disgusting”. Actually, notwithstanding their unconventional shape, they were quite tasty.


Talking of domestic inconveniences, after three weeks of very cold weather, the boat is full of condensation and everything is dripping, including the walls and the bedding. But even this wouldn’t account for the rapidity with which the bilges are filling with water. Normally Mina2 is a dry boat – not in the alcoholic sense, oh no – but in the sense that she doesn’t leak and the bilges only occasionally require a pump out. Right now however, for some reason we have yet to ascertain, the bilges are filling every few hours. No problem pumping them out, bit something we’ll need to investigate when we have more stable conditions.


So where are we now? About 32 miles from Cape Horn which at the rate we are tanking along at the moment, we should round it in about 4 hours – about midnight local time and 0300 UTC. So we won’t see much of it which is a shame. After that we should be in the lee of the land and heading for a nice little anchorage a couple of hours away and tranquillity at last. But as we get buffeted by yet another green wall of hard cold water, it still seems a dream away.