Day 57 – Horn Ho!

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 8 Feb 2022 18:44
Noon Position: 55 02.9 S 067 31.0 W
Course: ENE Speed: 6.5 knots
Wind: W, F6 Sea: moderate
Swell: W 3 meters
Weather: mostly sunny, cool
Day’s Run: 136 nm

We have a perfect day for raising Cape Horn – a fresh following wind and sea and the sun is shining. We run wing-on-wing, the wind fine off the port quarter, with three reefs in the main and 50% jib poled out to port making 6 ½ knots. At 1133 the Everest of the Sea revealed itself, a grey shadow emerging from the grey sea and sky. It was an is a moving moment.
We will pass the Horn at around 1330 (we will not have rounded the Horn until we are back below 50 degrees latitude in the Atlantic). Once past the Horn we will alter course to port and aim to get into the lee of Peninsular Mitre, Tierra Del Fuego. Wayne’s forecast has the wind veering into the north this evening and getting up to 30 knots and we do not wish to be punching into those sorts of winds if we can help it. The winds remain in the northerly quadrant for about 24 hours then back into the west and SW, much more favourable for the direction in which we wish to head, somewhere in the vicinity of the Falkland Islands.
I am also pleased to report that I ran the engine for a few hours yesterday during a patch of light winds and the oil pressure alarm, after a short period of chirping, went off and since then has stayed off. Hopefully the clean oil has now thoroughly circulated through and cleaned out all the engine’s oil galleries. Sylph’s batteries also badly needed a good charging and I used the engine heat to dry out some of my bedding, plus motoring for a while made Sylph’s motion much more tolerable.
More good news is that Coconut has gotten through the Force 9-10 gale with no damage and on this mornings radio sched Mark was in good spirits. He is now heading SE to avoid the worst of another low pressure system that is rapidly bearing down on Coconut. Once through the next round he will make best speed for the Horn. He has yet a third intense low pressure system to deal with but my understanding is that his plan is to try to get to the Horn before this third low then shelter in the lee of islands to the north of the Horn until conditions abate sufficiently for Coconut to continue. Of course, plans change and adapt according to circumstances.
And one more bit of last minute good news (at least for me). As I was passing Cape Horn I had a call on VHF from the Chilean base. Presumably they picked me up on AIS as they knew Sylph’s name without me having to spell it out. So I now know that there is nothing wrong with my VHF set. They asked, “What was your last port of call?” Reply, “Adelaide, Australia.” “Next port of call?” “Adelaide, Australia.” “And how many people on board?” “One”. Silence. “Only one?” “Yes, only one.”
All is well.