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Old 10-10-2009, 06:59   #1
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Rounding Cape Horn - Advice?

All,

I am leaving NY in a week or so for the Carribean but will make a stop in Annapolis.

I was wondering if anyone would be ready to have a few side conversations on rounding Cape Horn. I am thinking of leaving the Eastern Carib for Brazil/ Argentina in Jan 2010 and then go around there back up the Chilean coast before crossing the Pacific from the Galapagos islands.

Anyone who has done this and would spare some time would be so greately appreciated...

JP Gaillard
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:30   #2
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The two most important pieces of advice I could give you on high latitude sailing down there is to get a copy of 'Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide' Home Page and employ a weather expert via email for the critical period. PM me for preparation of your boat for the extremes down there.

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Old 10-10-2009, 07:34   #3
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Get hold of a copy of "Daughters of the Wind" by David Lewis. It describes a similar journey.
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:41   #4
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As an aside, the sketch maps in the Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide are the best I've ever seen in a cruising guide and in my experience, and others, can be relied on totally.

Disclaimer: I've no connection to the authors, never even met them but if I do, the drinks are on me all night.

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Old 10-10-2009, 08:30   #5
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I'm not sure, but if you are leaving the Carib in Jan you will be too late in the season top do the Horn unless you go pretty well direct.
Check it out.
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:36   #6
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Hi, I missed the departure date, you need to be down there in January to the beginning of March to have a realistic chance of a decent weather window. Sometimes they occur later but that's chance with a decreasing probability. Don't just rely on sails, be prepared to motor back in to sheltered waterways.

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Old 10-10-2009, 10:05   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP Gaillard View Post
All,

I was wondering if anyone would be ready to have a few side conversations on rounding Cape Horn.
I think the first question is what do you mean by 'rounding Cape Horn'. People use that term in two ways. The 'official' use is to mean a voyage outside/offshore non-stop from 50S in the atlantic to 50S in the pacific. Typically you would leave from Mar Del Plata and arrive at Puerto Montt.

The more casual useage is to coast hop all down the Arentine coast and then do Chile via the inside route and in between you make a short detour and day sail round the horn. There are couple decent anchorages right close by where you just sit and wait for reasonable weather to then do a 30 mile day sail round the horn. This is 'officially' called sailing 'to the horn' rather than 'round the horn'.

The two trips are obviously completely different animals. All sorts of little and ill prepared boats have done the inshore trip.

I disagree with Fish that a shore weather router is necessary (or even that useful) but that's a personal decision depending on what sort of weather information/experience you have on board. We used one the first time we were there and did not think it added much value and did not the second time.

Regarding the timing, actually many people think going North up the channels in the very late fall to mid-winter (so April to june) is the best time to do it. In the summer you have constant and strong N winds in the channels and it is a real slog northbound (we have done it both ways twice in different seasons). In the early winter, you do have shorter days and a bit more ice but the not the constant headwinds.

It would be desirable to have a decent cabin heater no matter what season you do - it's can be cold and damp all year in southern Chile.
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Old 10-10-2009, 14:40   #8
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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I think the first question is what do you mean by 'rounding Cape Horn'. People use that term in two ways. The 'official' use is to mean a voyage outside/offshore non-stop from 50S in the atlantic to 50S in the pacific. Typically you would leave from Mar Del Plata and arrive at Puerto Montt...
So, if I departed Sydney, Au, passed through the Drake Passage, and made my next landfall at (say) Sidney, Au, having crossed all lines of longitude, I wouldn't have "officially" rounded the Horn.
Who officiates traditions?
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Old 10-10-2009, 15:21   #9
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Jan is to late, unless you want to round next year.

The upwind leg to land's end is hell upwind. Then the piece to Rio is easy. Beyond Rio it varies and becomes nasty. Good harbours at the tip thought (Williams / Ushuaia). Then pretty iffy first 2000 Nm W and NW, then easy to Galapagos, then light winds to Panama.

The Cape, by itself, probably easier to get W then pass to the E and round back going again via the canals. Not that it cannot be done the normal direction, just more difficult.

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Old 10-10-2009, 15:45   #10
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thanks all for the insights. I have no desire to set records or anything like that. I just sail for my pleasure and want to go around there because I want to sail up the Chilean coast and see the tip of Argentina from the Sea. That's it. so rounding horn or not, frankly, I'll do whatever is safe. It just happens that I thought that's what it is called.

I think the key is the timing and I think I'll not be able to wait for the winter down there simply because it is too cold. I will probably leave the Carrib 1st week of Jan and make it down there by end Feb maybe allowing me some decent time to sail up chile before getting to the Galapagos around April/May and crossing the Pacific.

Regarding on-shore weather router, I sadly don't have anybody I could delegate this to and frankly I should be ok with my own stuff on-board. I am by myself and have set up the boat to work quite well for all this, weather, etc.

anyway- blew my traveller today. Gotta repair that. damn.
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Old 10-10-2009, 16:21   #11
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How do you blow a traveller? Your words that reads well uhh not uhh what happened?
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Old 10-10-2009, 16:25   #12
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I would believe the term to round the horn in general means on the outside. You can always split hairs if you like. Did you earn the earring by going through the passage, or around the horn on the outside?.......i2f
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Old 10-10-2009, 16:31   #13
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It is a fairly old traveller and I have a furling boom which is quite heavy. when you tack or jibe just a tad too fast the strain on the traveller makes the blocks on the end of my traveller jump out. The unit is really old and I simply think that I have to update the whole thing there.

I sent an email to lewmar to see if they had a solution for easy upgrade - otherwise I'll have to shell out some $$$ to get myself a new system. It sucks.

See pictures on www.flickr.com/jp_gaillard . The end stop which is similar to a fiddle block and is bolted onto the end car with 3 flimsy screws just popped off. i put new screws in and managed to complete the journey but now I am nervous every time i tack!
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Old 10-10-2009, 19:25   #14
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Today you can leave your boat in the West Indies and jump on a charter one at Ushu then double the Horn in one day, without any risk (to your boat). Plenty of charter there.

b.
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Old 10-10-2009, 21:03   #15
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#8 >>>So, if I departed Sydney, Au, passed through the Drake Passage, and made my next landfall at (say) Sidney, Au, having crossed all lines of longitude, I wouldn't have "officially" rounded the Horn. Who officiates traditions?<<<
- - Huh? Australia to Cape Horn and back to Australia? The Drake Passage is the waters between South America (Cape Horn) and Antartica. Drake Passage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Obviously you would be south of Cape Horn and qualify as rounding Cape Horn.
- - But the original question was sailing from the Caribbean around South America and up the western side. There are two channels through: the northern Straits of Magellan, and the southern Beagle Channel which take you just north of Cape Horn (Wollaston Islands). There are many articles about holing up at Port Williams to wait for a weather window to go south and circle the actual Cape Horn.
- - But be aware that Chile has instituted several years ago strict requirements for equipment and insurance to transit their area between Cape Horn and Puerto Montt. I believe it was instituted because of cruisers that were ill-prepared for the weather and harshness of the area and the Chileans got tired of rescuing these people.
- - If you want to sail around Cape Horn (not in your boat) they even have a sailboat charter operation down there: http://www.victory-cruises.com/tariII.html
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