Away At Last

Position: 54 56.09 S 067 37.11 W
Alongside Puerto Williams
Weather: Mostly cloudy, wind - a bit of everything, mild.
Days run: 25 miles

We have spent almost eight weeks alongside Ushuaia - that certainly wasn’t in the plan.  But we are away at last.  This morning I visited the Argentinean Prefectura for the last time - hooray! The staff in the Ushuaia Prefectura were once again polite and efficient so no complaints here. Then I had to drop a form off with customs. I stood waiting for about 40 minutes with another gentleman who had arrived before me while absolutely nothing happened. The people behind the counter did not even acknowledge our existence. I do not mind waiting as I understand people can be busy and I might be fairly low in their priorities but I do think it is extremely rude not even to say hello, to acknowledge my existence and maybe give me an indication that someone will attend to me as soon as they are able. So in the end I walked behind the counter put my form on someone’s desk and said this is for you. A young man sitting beside the table watching TV put his hands in the air and said, “No, no.” I repeated, “For you“ and left.

Well no police cars with sirens wailing arrived at the yacht club before I could get away, nor did any dark hulled patrol boats come tearing out of the port in hot pursuit after us after we had left, so I guess it wasn’t too important.  Though maybe Interpol might get called in yet.  I will try not to lose any sleep worrying about it.

Once away I had some initial trouble hoisting the mainsail, the boom topping lift had gotten foul of the main halyard, then I had a problem with the halyard feeding through the rope clutch, but eventually I got the sail hoisted and set and everything settled down. These sorts of little problems often occur when one has been in port for an extended period, it will undoubtedly take a little while to shake the cobwebs out and have everything shipshape again.

The wind was all over the place for the short passage to Puerto Williams, many light patches and occasional calms, and every now and again a gust would funnel down and out through a valley and have Sylph heeling well over and accelerating up to a slippery seven knots. At one point I even put a reef in but of course as soon as I had done so the wind died away. Still it is the first time I had put a reef in the new mainsail so I didn’t mind having the opportunity to mess around with it a bit. The new mainsail performed well on its first outing, it is nice and flat, not like the old one which by comparison is stretched like a potato sack. Now when we are hit by a gust old Sylph responds by heeling a little and accelerating quickly, whereas with the old sail she tended to heel a lot and accelerate only slowly - very satisfying.

With the mostly light and variable conditions it has been a slow trip to Pto. Williams, we did not get alongside here until 9 p.m., and had to negotiate the narrow inlet to find a berth alongside the yacht club in the dark (the southern most YC in the world I might add, which is an old Navy supply ship, the “Micalvi”). The motor behaved itself and as we got into the lee of the land the wind died right off, so getting alongside was easy. Actually we are alongside a nice old wooden schooner, the “Victory”.  It will be interesting to see how things look tomorrow in the daylight. No sooner had I got my first line across to the “Victory” then another yacht came up alongside outboard of us, the “L’Sprite D’Equipe”, a large aluminium charter boat. Sylph is feeling like a very small piece of cheese sandwiched between two rather large crusty bits of bread.

The authorities were here to greet us and were very polite. They advised me I must stay on board tonight and we would do the paperwork in the morning. Suits me.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

Maybe I don’t miss being at sea as much as I thought. Our abode was leaning this way and that, things were sliding about, including me, not at all conducive to achieving a productive day. Still things are very calm now so time to catch up on a few things, first and foremost … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.