not with out incident...
Departed Tauranga on the morning of 9th January and spent the next week or more trying to get below a massive high. By the end of the 15th day we had already motored for 64 hours and were down to 46* south.
The problem is that the 'high' that has forced you south can retreat to the north much faster than you can sail and will leave you at the mercy of the deep depressions far far further south.
So... having been becalmed in about 46*S, 144*W on the 18th day the wind
then came away from the West at 40 knots and the sea rapidly built to quite remarkable proportions.
On the 21st day we had a very heavy confused swell...westerly with a bit of southwesterly on top of it. That was when as she was coming down the face of one she was taken unawares by a breaking sea on the starboard quarter and took a sheer to starboard at 17 knots, the self steerer tried to take her to port and the auxiluary rudder
When this happened we were already up to 44*50'S which was pretty much our latitude for the next ten days. Conditions the next day were settled enough to top the fuel tank
from 6 x 20 litre 'bidones' lashed on the side deck
There was only one more weather
event when in about 45*S, 119*W a low dropped down through the 'rathole' and appeared behind us... presenting us with 40 knot
northerlies and a nasty short steep sea. Not feeling inclined to go to windward and not wanting to follow it south we simply lay ahull under bare poles for 12 hours until the front came through and once again we were sailing in moderate SWlys.
From the 22nd day onwards winds from between SW and NW at 20 to 30 knots were the order of the day but we were still unable to get further north than 43*S until we were in 90*W as no decent wind
was on offer above the 1020 isobar.
In fact it was only when we reached 82*W that we finally got above 42*S and then quite a bit of motoring was involved from there to Canal Chacao.
The 'Rathole' is what I now call the gap which often lies between the eastern and western South Pacific
high pressure zones. Lows have a tendency to form in this gap and intensify as they head
of to the south east to join their big mates down south.....
One the previous trip (2004) we had a similar experience in a similar area... a low appeared NE of us and gave us Easterlies at 40 knots...
The ebb tide at Canal Chacao can still be felt out at the pilot boarding ground, we had 4 knots of ebb with all the wind over tide unpleasantness just west of the boarding ground.
In summer Isla Chiloe lies between the prevailing southerlies that blow along the north and the northwesterlies that Patagonia experiences.... as the high moves north and south so you can get southerlies, northerlies or calm along this part of the coast.
Some stats.... 2004 crossing in brackets..., departed Tauranga 10th January 2004, this crossing departed Tauranga 9th January.
Total Distance 5289 miles (5266 miles), Passage
Time 43 days 22 hours ( 44 days 10 hours), Engine
Hours 121 (106)
In 2004 we entered via Boca de Guafo as there was no wind further north.
taken in 44*23S, 100*W... typical conditions for 40 of the 44 days..