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Old 23-10-2014, 13:23   #1
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Cape Horn

I've never circumnavigated, nor have I even crossed the Atlantic. None of these things appeals just to "say I've done it".

But one place I've wanted to go all my life since childhood is -- the Horn. And the fascination doesn't go away. The Horn and the Northwest Passage, but the Horn is surely the more accessible of the two.

Starting from the UK, what kind of a route makes sense? Across the Pond to the Caribbean via Canaries, through The Ditch, then down the coast of Chile, around the Horn, and straight back to Europe?

Or how would you do it?
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Old 23-10-2014, 13:40   #2
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Re: Cape Horn

Well that's an interesting question. And one I've been interested in before.

Getting there from the UK is probably easier on the Atlantic route - getting south along the Pacific coast of SA is trying (done it).

Rounding the Horn, on the other hand, is easier from the Pacific side.

Might modify your proposed route - Canal - Tahiti - Horn to make the sailing from Panama southward easier and more enjoyable. However, if you have the stomach for beating into light breezes against the Humboldt current the west coast of SA can be very rewarding. Once you get down to Valparaiso things ease a bit and the rest is a piece of cake (as much as it gets to be when sailing the deep southern latitudes).
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Old 23-10-2014, 13:58   #3
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Re: Cape Horn

Question? are you just wanting to get down to TdF so you can day sail the Horn.

If so.... 99% of boats arriving from Europe have come down the Atlantic although I did meet a Frenchman in MdP a few years ago who was doing a clockwise circumnav of South America.

As said above coming down the Chilean coast is a slow sort of a job.... afternoon sea breezes blowing straight up the coast and adding to the prevailing southerlies... 40 knots not unknown in the area ofshore Coquimbo.... most daysail it...
If passage making down from Panama you need to to go well offshore to get out of the the grip of the South East Pacific High..... think 110*E. I've known boats to take 40 days from Easter Island to Puerto Montt... same same time from Tahiti or NZ.
On the Atlantic side it can be pretty bloody south of Rio de la Plata.

The hardest part of sailing in Chile is getting to Chile but its worth the effort.
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Old 23-10-2014, 14:06   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Question? are you just wanting to get down to TdF so you can day sail the Horn.

If so.... 99% of boats arriving from Europe have come down the Atlantic although I did meet a Frenchman in MdP a few years ago who was doing a clockwise circumnav of South America.

As said above coming down the Chilean coast is a slow sort of a job.... afternoon sea breezes blowing straight up the coast and adding to the prevailing southerlies... 40 knots not unknown in the area ofshore Coquimbo.... most daysail it...
If passage making down from Panama you need to to go well offshore to get out of the the grip of the South East Pacific High..... think 110*E. I've known boats to take 40 days from Easter Island to Puerto Montt... same same time from Tahiti orSo is it better NZ.
On the Atlantic side it can be pretty bloody south of Rio de la Plata.

The hardest part of sailing in Chile is getting to Chile but its worth the effort.
So is it better the other way around?
No, not just the Horn and Beagle0 Passage. Of course I'd like to explore Tierra del Fuego, as thoroughly as possible.

I love these latitudes. FWIW, Cape Horn is at just less than 56 S. My summer haven in Finland is above 60 N. So I'm not really a stranger to these latitudes.
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Old 23-10-2014, 14:16   #5
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Re: Cape Horn

Most European boats passing through come down the Atlantic.... then Patagonia... lay up in Pto Montt for a spell before heading for Juan Fernandez/Easter Island/Polynesia. Some go up to Ecuador...

Its up to you...which way do you want to go?

Personally I would rather be going up the Atlantic coast of Argentina than down it.. that said I had a dream run from Uruguay to the Falklands in October a few years back and then motored all the way from Stanley to Puerto Williams in October the following year.... pic is 2 days out of Stanley...

You pays your money... you takes your chance....
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Old 23-10-2014, 14:54   #6
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Re: Cape Horn

Want to round the Horn eh; only one good way to do it from the UK in my mind.

Follow the clipper route, down the Atlantic, Cape of Good Hope, across the Southern Indian and South Pacific, double The Horn, turn left and go home.

A couple of advantages of this route is that as well as achieving your dream, you get a couple of bonus points - sailing in the wake of the clippers; rounding the great five southern capes; a circumnavigation.

But this is not why the route is the only good one ; the real reason is that you get the opportunity to call into Tasmania (about mid voyage) and enjoy some real island hospitality while you re-vital and first drinks are on me (maybe seconds as well )
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Old 23-10-2014, 15:07   #7
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Re: Cape Horn

By 747.


If you dont want to do that, nor take Wotnames advice for a real trip, you can go Uk, Canaries, Cape Verde, Brazil Refiefe then Rio, Argentina, Ushuaia, round the Horn and double back to Ushuaia (or to the Antartic Peninsula), the Falklands, St Helina, Caribbean.

Thing about that route is you can do it in one year. Leave UK end of summer, Depart Canaries beginning of November, Depart Argentina Christmas, Horn/ Antartic Jan, St Helena Feb, Caribean April, Cross to UK in June.
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Old 23-10-2014, 15:13   #8
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Re: Cape Horn

I would avoid Argentina like the plague. I still wake .... screaming ... in the night...

Take your departure from Uruguay and go directo, or via the Falklands, to Pto Williams.
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Old 23-10-2014, 16:46   #9
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Re: Cape Horn

Your options are countless. From the EU the simplest is down to Brazil (NOT to the Caribbeas) then on to the Cape.

There are charter boats there that make loops. Talk to their skippers, they will help you find a proper wx window to round.


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Old 23-10-2014, 17:06   #10
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Re: Cape Horn

First, I would suggest you do a charter down there. There are countless good charter boats with experienced skippers. You can see it first hand, ask questions, learn (there is a major learning curve). . . . and see if you really want to take your boat down there . . . . it is a long way.

If you do decide to go, then the major decision is whether you want to see just the horn and beagle or see the whole Patagonian channel area (the west of Chile). If the first, then you go down the Atlantic (canaries, Cape Verdies, Uruguay, Staten island, beagle); but if you want to see the whole ball of wax you want to go thru the panama canal and out to gambier islands and back into puerto montt. The reason for this is that the winds blow always (during the summer) from the north in the channels, so you definitely want to be going south and not north (we have done it both ways and speak from hard experience there). However, you do not want to go down the northern west coast of south america because the winds and current there all come from the south, so you swing out around the high to the gambiers and back in to puerto montt (a nice tropical cruise).

If you go down, whichever way, I would add south georgia in. It is a very impressive place. In many people's mind more so than the antarctic peninsula.

But you don't have a hunter do you
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Old 23-10-2014, 17:06   #11
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Re: Cape Horn

Have a good friend who left today on a 2-3 week trip aboard MS Explorer, a Nat Geo accompanied vessel with trips ashore planned by Zodiac periodically. Sounds like a good way to see the Horn where wooden ships and iron men were tested regularly in years gone by. Phil
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Old 23-10-2014, 18:59   #12
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Re: Cape Horn

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
The Horn and the Northwest Passage, but the Horn is surely the more accessible of the two.

Or how would you do it?
You could go to Chile via the Northwest Passage....

The Puerto Williams based yacht Santa Maria Australis circumnavigated the Americas a few years ago by leaving Williams in the southern summer and going anticlockwise...
She was the first yacht ever to have done it in under 12 months and arrived back in Williams in November... she had done the last leg directo from Hawaii.

The mistake a lot of people coming from the Atlantic make is going north up the channels in the summer. Far better to wait until April.
In the summer you get lots of NWlys , lots of overcast and rain, and not much pleasure.
In autumn coming into winter its more settled, a good percentage of the wind is from the south, and the visiblity is often better than excellent.

Yes it is colder, and yes you will have a bit of 'waiting on weather' but that will happen in any season. Once in April it took me three weeks to get from Paso Tortuoso to Faro Fairway ( ie the western end of Estrecho de Magellanes), same month a few years later it took three days of motoring in a calm.

First pic, near Puerto Natales in May, second pic, heading north a few days south of Pto Eden, same trip... we carried a southerly from Magellanes all the way to Pto Eden.
Third pic.... a few years later .. western end of Magellanes in late April.
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Old 23-10-2014, 19:23   #13
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Re: Cape Horn

Wow, so much good advice!! Thanks to everyone who responded. This is still in the pipe dream stage, but it's a serious pipe dream, based on the premise -- if I do finally take a year or so off, what is the coolest thing I can do with that time?

I considered and have rejected what seems to me a banal Atlantic Circuit -- across to the Carib for the winter, then back to the UK via Bermuda and Azores.

Now you guys have given me lots of ideas.

And that's a great suggestion from Evans to scope it out first on a charter -- which hadn't occurred to me. Since I'll only do this once, that is really excellent advice. I know that having spent four months in the Baltic, I only just now, on the basis of that experience, know the right way to do it, and am looking forward to the same trip next year, but "doing it right this time". A charter will help make the first and probably only time down there really count.

Thanks, everyone!
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Old 23-10-2014, 19:46   #14
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Re: Cape Horn

I would not do a charter first. I would want to do it on my boat first.

Panama Canal was like that... Everyone said you need to be a line handler on another boat first to scope it out. So all the excitement and adventure was on someone elses boat not Sea Life. When I went through on Sea Life it was like Ho Hum, Iv'e already done this. A bit let down.
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Old 23-10-2014, 19:55   #15
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Re: Cape Horn

You might be interested in this guys epic sail around the Americas. He did the Horn and the northwest passage in a 27' Albin Vega, non-stop. He got lucky at the Horn as the weather was benign.

It was fun following him on his journey.

Solo Around the America's Under Sail | An audacious attempt at sailing the Northwest Passage and circumnavigating entirety of both continents, to benefit Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating
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