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Old 08-01-2014, 05:04   #1
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Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

I completed my Atlantic trip in 2011 and since then the Oceans are calling me back.. So I now have another plan (or rather a dream..) ; circumnavigate but out of traditional way. The reasons for ruling out this option are;

-lighter winds, more time needed
-the hussles in Panama canal
-the crime / safety / piracy issues along the way (Venezuella, Panama, Malakka strait, and obviously Gulf of Aden)

I am working on two routes;

-West to East :Las Palmas, Brazil, down until we hit the easterlies, then cross to Cape Town, Perth, south of Australia, Wellington, Cape Horn (probably via Magellan strait) back to Gibraltar by cutting the westerly trades as much as possible.
-East to West : Las Palmas, Brazil, Cape Horn, up the Chiliean cost with with south easerly trades, then pick up the easterlies at S 15-20 and proceed west, North of Australia, Cape Town, back to Gibraltar.

I know I will be missing a lot of sight seeing and it will be rushed; that's fine.

I will be on a catamaran and I am looking for the one capable of going upwind, solid and seaworthy yet comfortable, min. 50 ft, prepared for Offshore sailing in every respect (electronic, communication,mechanical, rigging, heating, etc) One of the candidates is 2002 Catana 582 that I had chance to sail.
The biggest issue will be the crew as it was during my last trip..
My wife can only do some easy step of this trip and I need at least two other competent crews, noot easy..

I have done some home work but will appreciate yr views particularly of those who made part of these routes.

Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:36   #2
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

Outremer, I think over a third of all boats launched have circumnavigated or are in the process and half have crossed at least one ocean. I might be biased, but seriouslt would think there is no better boat.
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:54   #3
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

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Originally Posted by yeloya View Post

-West to East :Las Palmas, Brazil, down until we hit the easterlies, then cross to Cape Town, Perth, south of Australia, Wellington, Cape Horn (probably via Magellan strait) back to Gibraltar by cutting the westerly trades as much as possible.
-East to West : Las Palmas, Brazil, Cape Horn, up the Chiliean cost with with south easerly trades, then pick up the easterlies at S 15-20 and proceed west, North of Australia, Cape Town, back to Gibraltar.

. . .

I have done some home work but will appreciate yr views particularly of those who made part of these routes.
I have done those two routes and can tell you they are entirely different.

The second is mostly a tropical trade run, with a detour thru Patagonia. And just FYI you will want a lot of fuel capacity to go north up the Chilean channels - it's 1200 miles upwind.

The first is a southern ocean route. The route is generally much colder and the sailing harder (much more variable in both wind direction and speed). By the way, skip Wellington, and do Stewart island and Dunedin.
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Old 08-01-2014, 13:01   #4
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

Hi Evans,

I've read most of yr blogs, particularly the parts concerning yr high latitude sailing, owesome..
I understand you are suggesting the first option, ie. east to west from sailing point of view althought I believe second option could be a bit rewarding from cruising point of view.

I have couple of more questions if you don' mind:
-I have been checking the wind patterns in the south oceans for quite a while. Depending on the seasons, reliable easterlies are well below 50's lattitude, but don't want to go that deep for obvious reasons. My plan is to stay south enough to get "some" easterlies, but north enough to be safer.. (close to yr route from Cape to Perth) Many blogs as well as yours mention quite frequent easterlies sometimes at gale force and sometimes no wind at all, if you remain in these lattitudes. Is there any way to avoid that by changing the course ? You said that you had to heave to for 8 days in strong easterlies, would running south be an option rather than waiting ?

-my previous experience in the Atlantic tells me that rather than the wind the swells are causing the main problems and high lattitudes have a very bad experience for this. (too steep, often breaking, confused, etc) Haven't seen too many reference to the swells on yr blogs, maybe yr boat was handling them too good or you were too brave ? How bad really are they ??

Lastly, it seems that you have been sailing basically with monos, but what would be yr thoughts on doing this route with a catamaran ? Many refers to difficulties of heating large and exposed spaces of catamaran, accumulated snow on larger deck that affect very badly the handling of the boat, limited upwind capability, etc..

Thx for yr inputs

Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 08-01-2014, 15:03   #5
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

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-Is there any way to avoid that by changing the course ? You said that you had to heave to for 8 days in strong easterlies, would running south be an option rather than waiting ?

If you can sustain 300 miles/day speed, you can play with the weather. If you are below 200miles/day, as we are, then you just get what you get. I think with a 50' cat, with cruising gear, you will be too slow. If you are slow and try big moves south or north then you just get yourself into more trouble (no wind or too much). We saw this happen to quite a few of our friend, no wind so they go south 8 degrees and then way too much wind and they can't get back north in time to avoid it.

-Haven't seen too many reference to the swells on yr blogs, maybe yr boat was handling them too good or you were too brave ? How bad really are they ??

Well the swell and waves are big. It would be interesting to see some data, but if I had to guess, on average 20% bigger than the summer North Atlantic ? It is 3m in a dead calm, from storms behind and in front of you, but they are just what they are and you learn to deal with them. We never had truly terrible "survival storm" conditions

Lastly, it seems that you have been sailing basically with monos, but what would be yr thoughts on doing this route with a catamaran ? Many refers to difficulties of heating large and exposed spaces of catamaran, accumulated snow on larger deck that affect very badly the handling of the boat, limited upwind capability, etc..

I don't know much about the pros and cons of multi hulls down there. They seemed to have more breakages than the monos. I would not worry about the snow effect, unless you plan to winter over in the Antarctic. There will be a lot of heat lost thru the cat's big saloon's (especially the big windows) . . . There is insulating glass . . . And you would just have to install sufficient heater output. I don't think you will be able to sail much of the passage north up the channels (upwind) but then most cruising monos don't either, only the very best upwind machines make much progress sailing there.

Thx for yr inputs

Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:01   #6
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

My average in Atlantic (both east bound and west bound) was around 180 nm/day, occasionally made over 200 nm but with aft winds and mostly under sipneaker. However, this was a 44 ft charter boat. The boat for this route should be making consistentantly over 200-210 nm / day, 170-180 nm upwind safely. Otherwise, either I don't do it or follow the milk way..
I also plan to have a way of having access to grib files continiously available on board; costly but adds to safety.

Any issues with provisioning and or technical support if needed, along the coast of Patagonia, Ushaia, etc?

Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:16   #7
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

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I also plan to have a way of having access to grib files continiously available on board; costly but adds to safety.

I am quite good with weather, and we have had gribs all the time and a shore router for our longest trip (Cape Horn to Perth). The problem is just being fast enough to be able to get around the systems. Even the "fast boats" don't really do all that much clever routing, rather they basically wait for a front to come along that is going at their speed, and hook into it and ride it as far as they can.

Any issues with provisioning and or technical support if needed, along the coast of Patagonia, Ushaia, etc?

There is pretty much nothing along the west coast of Patagonia for 1500 miles (between Ushuaia and Puerto Montt). You need to be self-sufficient for that. And then there are three or four small towns where you might or might not get lucky with food/diesel. That's one of the beauties of that coast - it must be one of the longest in the world with the fewest settlements/people. Near the southern end there is Punta Arenas where you can get stuff, but you don't want to go there unless you really have to - it is off the main route and very nasty, likely to damage your boat.

You can get everything, including quite good shiprite work up around puerto montt (we actually had a new rudder made there). Ushuaia is a tourist town. You can get boat stuff done but it is generally 'make do' rather than professional. The food is relatively expensive.

There is a good guide to the whole area that you should have . . . . Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide by Rolfo, Mariolina & Giorgi Ardrizzi


Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:24   #8
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

Sounds like a good adventure. Best of luck to you.
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Old 13-01-2014, 03:50   #9
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

After some more research, I am kind of convinced on the following;
-Las PAlmas-NAtal
NAtal-Cape Town (late December)
CApe Town-Perth
Perth-New Zealand
New Zealand- Cape Horn (Mid March)
I would shoot for the Magellan strait, if this doesn't count as rounding the Cape, so be it. This route seems to be much shorter and safer.
Cape Horn up to Madeira (maybe one stop in Brazil again) This will be long and tricky passage mostly upwind, unless one does a long detour raising up to 35-40 N before turning west..
Madeira-Gibraltar (I should be there beginning or mid of May)

Quite a rush plan but don't have more time..

NB:Evans, I keep on reading yr web, very interesting view on denying to carry life raft..I know some multis not carrying it (positive buoyancy) but hadn't heard any mono sailing offshore w/out it. Anyway, that's a different topic..

Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 13-01-2014, 08:01   #10
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloya View Post
After some more research, I am kind of convinced on the following;
-Las PAlmas-NAtal
NAtal-Cape Town (late December)
CApe Town-Perth
Perth-New Zealand
New Zealand- Cape Horn (Mid March)
I would shoot for the Magellan strait, if this doesn't count as rounding the Cape, so be it. This route seems to be much shorter and safer.
Cape Horn up to Madeira (maybe one stop in Brazil again) This will be long and tricky passage mostly upwind, unless one does a long detour raising up to 35-40 N before turning west..
Madeira-Gibraltar (I should be there beginning or mid of May)

Quite a rush plan but don't have more time..

NB:Evans, I keep on reading yr web, very interesting view on denying to carry life raft..I know some multis not carrying it (positive buoyancy) but hadn't heard any mono sailing offshore w/out it. Anyway, that's a different topic..

Cheers

Yeloya
I personally would do the Beagle rather than Magellan, but you can make that decision later.
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Old 06-04-2014, 13:54   #11
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

Yeloya - I have a question for you. You said you completed your Atlantic trip in 2011? Have you ever sailed around the world using the traditional route?

Before you choose a route that you will most likely fail to complete, like sailing past Cape Horn, maybe you should choose the normal trade wind route the first time. Once you have gained enough experience, and not just an Atlantic crossing, then you can attempt a more difficult route.

I can assure you that sailing the trade wind route will give you enough of a challenge to keep you busy for several years without dealing with icebergs and monster seas!

Your chance of success for completing a circumnavigation using the trade wind route is still very small. Just look at how many people end up in the South Pacific from Europe and sell their boats there.
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Old 06-04-2014, 15:47   #12
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

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Yeloya - I have a question for you. You said you completed your Atlantic trip in 2011? Have you ever sailed around the world using the traditional route?

Before you choose a route that you will most likely fail to complete, like sailing past Cape Horn, maybe you should choose the normal trade wind route the first time. Once you have gained enough experience, and not just an Atlantic crossing, then you can attempt a more difficult route.

I can assure you that sailing the trade wind route will give you enough of a challenge to keep you busy for several years without dealing with icebergs and monster seas!

Your chance of success for completing a circumnavigation using the trade wind route is still very small. Just look at how many people end up in the South Pacific from Europe and sell their boats there.
No, I haven't done the traditional trade wind circumnavigation. I may still decide to go this way. The traditional route is not appealing for me ;light winds, hot, humide and nothing attractive as a sight seeing. My cruising style is unorthodox, I hate motoring, spening more than a day or two in the same spot..
If you think someone has to do the traditional circumnavigation before attempting via Cape Horn and gain experience, I disagree. Southern Ocean and Cape Horn is unique, I don't think you can get relevavnt experience by sailing in benign waters of the Trades.. Actually, the Northern Atlantic passage which is not part of the traditional circumnavigation, is much more demanding.
On the other hand, unfortunately, I don't have a year or years for circumnavigation, the plan is to complete in less than a year. I think this is possible unless something breaks or any health issue arises.

I just wondered how you could judge about my chance of success; you don't know me / my sailing experience, which boat I am going with and with what kind of crew.. I've read almost anything I could find on sailing the Cape Horn but couldn't find yet any data showing how many sailor died, lost their boat, sold their boats or succeeded. (for those succeeded, how many of them have had previous experience of circumnavigation via Trades)
I would be grateful if you share with us these statitistics.
Cheers
Yeloya
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Old 09-04-2014, 13:30   #13
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

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I just wondered how you could judge about my chance of success; you don't know me
I just love how some people get all defensive...

There have been countless people with proven experience that have either lost their boat or their life.

To quote Dustin Hoffmans character from the movie LITTLE BIG MAN..."...you go down there...there won't be anything left...you go down there if you have the nerve..." We all know what happened to Custer. Don't we?

There have been countless people who have proven skills who have turned back.
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Old 03-05-2014, 14:21   #14
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

If it swells you're worried about, it seems the beagle route would be the best. Am I missing something?
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Old 03-05-2014, 14:24   #15
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Re: Circumnavigation via Cape Horn

Chenard started the Patagonia companies used to say "you can do anything if you set your mind to it"
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