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Old 12-03-2017, 07:56   #1
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Cape Horn and Patagonia


My wife and I were extremely fortunate when friends of ours invited us to join them on their 41-foot sloop in Patagonia for 6 weeks. We jumped at the invitation and didn't even consider the fact that we'd be sleeping on the settees in the main saloon a minor drawback. They met us in Ushuaia and we cleared out of Argentina and into Puerto Williams, Chile, after just a couple of days. Once our provisioning was completed and my friend had secured a zarpe for sailing around Cape Horn, it was just a matter of waiting for a weather window before we took off. Luckily for us, a perfect window appeared to be opening so we made our way to Puerto Toro and sat there for a few days while we kept a keen eye on what systems were coming our way. Once our skipper was confident that we had a green light, we left Puerto Toro at 0300 (just as it was getting light) and 12 hours later we were rounding Cape Horn from the west. The weather was calm enough that we were able to take a dinghy ashore, my wife and I going first, climbing the 10 flights of stairs in our expedition suits and making our way to the lighthouse where we were warmly greeted by the lighthouse keeper and his wife. I felt myself getting emotional, which I hadn't expected. We signed the log book, had our passports and the boat's log book stamped and took dozens of photos. But we knew that our friends were eager to come ashore as well and it's not wise to linger at Cape Horn in a small boat as the weather can change at a moments notice, regardless of the forecast and at hurricane force. Our friends were just as much overwhelmed when they returned to their boat after their visit ashore as I had been. It was an unforgettable experience.

We returned to Puerto Williams, topped up our provisions and headed out to the glaciers and fjords of Patagonia, which were nothing short of spectacular. Because the winds cans blow hard from any direction at any time, an over-sized anchor, heavy chain and thick bow and stern lines are necessary. As we would pull into an anchorage, my wife and I would jump into the dinghy and take each of the long 5/8" lines ashore and tie them to stout trees. Sometimes we'd only do the stern lines if we backed into an anchorage but most of the time we'd run all four lines and once our skipper even had us run five.

We saw wildlife in the form of whales, dolphins, seals, albatross, ducks, penguins, fox and condors but virtually no fish. While we were at one anchorage, a Chilean fishing boat pulled in and rafted up to us for the sole purpose of giving us almost a dozen huge [I]centolla[I] crab. They refused payment so we gave them a bag of goodies we had aboard that we thought they might appreciate. It was a remarkable gesture and we had crab cakes, crab bisque, pasta with crab sauce, crab omlettes, even crab biryani.

While I wouldn't recommend cruising in that area for novice sailors, I did learn that with the right equipment and lots of patience it can be one of the most pristine cruising grounds in the world. We met several other cruising boats while there, some who had been there for years. Granted, the weather was cold and even though we were there in the middle of 'summer' but after spending the last 6 years in the tropics, I found it to be a welcome change.

My wife and I are now on our way back to our own boat which is on the hard in Trinidad. We plan to continue our circumnavigation but when we'll complete it is still unknown.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:28   #2
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

That sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:34   #3
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Thank you for sharing that!! What an incredible opportunity, one that few of us will ever have the fortune to experience. That area of the world looms large in my imagination, not just because of Cape Horn, but all of it, and nearby Antarctica too. Hopefully one day I too can have that privilege.

Regards,
David
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:15   #4
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

I've been doing some sailing in Newfoundland and hope to go up to Labradore soon.

I'm reading FitzRoy's account of that area.

Maybe, someday, but I'm gettin old.
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:28   #5
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Amazing adventure - I loved hearing about it. So that's the left ear you're piercing, correct?
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:29   #6
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Happy, you have done what I hope doeing maybe nex year. Any idea where to get into a charter(crewed, I presume) saiboat to do what you justy have done: Going around Cape De Horno without have the major trouble to bring my boat so far away.. To be more precise, are there charterer?, any idea of the condition to secure a berth?...
Many thanks.
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:34   #7
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Wonderful adventure. Could you post up some pictures or point to a blog?
Thanks,
Michael
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:14   #8
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Amazing and wonderful ! Thank you for sharing.
Could you please tell us what model of 41 foot sailboat you sailed around the Horn ??
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:21   #9
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elie View Post
Happy, you have done what I hope doeing maybe nex year. Any idea where to get into a charter(crewed, I presume) saiboat to do what you justy have done: Going around Cape De Horno without have the major trouble to bring my boat so far away.. To be more precise, are there charterer?, any idea of the condition to secure a berth?...
Many thanks.
Hi Eli,
my friends Jill and Nick are down there with their boat and two of their kids since 2014 I think to remember, they keep a regular blog and, because they have been asked many times in the past (they don't do charter), published the following information concerning charters on their website (October 2016):

Expeditions around Cape Horn – Yacht Mollymawk

Many more lovely stories and great articles, hope this helps!

Fair winds
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:26   #10
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

WOW! Most impressive. Sure would like to see the photos when you post them.
You've done what most of us can only fantasize about. Well done.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:59   #11
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Wow! Thank you for sharing that! You've done something very few of us will ever have the opportunity to add to our sailing resumes regardless of how adventurous we may be. I'd love to see photos.
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Old 12-03-2017, 12:48   #12
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Amazing! Chilean channels are one of the most beautiful but unknown parts of the world by sailors. There are very few sailboats that arrive at these coasts.
Chilean channels can be divided, in my opinion, in two big sectors: North part: From Puerto Montt to Glacier Laguna San Rafael near Golfo de Penas. South part: from Golfo de Penas to Cape Horn. Very different both.
1.- The Northern part (Puerto Montt to Laguna San Rafael) (350 Nautical miles of thousand of channels, islands and bays, Chiloé islands to Port Chacabuco and Laguna San Rafael) is the most beautiful area to sail, and very easy to navigate. Good charts, good weather reports, good coverage of cellphone, safety, thousands islands, channels, excellent coast guard (Marina Chilena), friendly people, good bays for anchorage but few marinas. And is a more inhabited area, with small towns, salmon factories, easy access by air if necessary, hospitals, etc.
2.- The Southern part, South of Glacier Laguna San Rafael, or Golfo de Penas to Cape Horn, requiere best knowledge and equipment. It is a very desolate area but you will find the most spectacular landscapes of the world. Hundreds of islands, channels, glaciers and bays and the presence of the Coast Guard (Marina Chilena) and fisherman.
Fair winds!!
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Old 12-03-2017, 14:19   #13
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Wow just wow, what a experience, good for you to jump at the opportunity.

I am Jealous, glad you shared thanks

Pops
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Old 12-03-2017, 14:20   #14
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Just curious what type anchors did the boat use.?

Thank you

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Old 12-03-2017, 14:55   #15
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Re: Cape Horn and Patagonia

Thanks for sharing! Most of us can only dream.
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