Los Mares del Sur  FRA mares-del-sur-fra ESP mares-del-sur-esp 

2015 - 2016 UPDATED 2016 05 18

In tribute to Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. The Southern Seas, roaring or not, are safer than sad suburbs.



  
     2016-02-12 Beagle Channel (Canal Beagle Oeste)                 2016 02 25 - Cape Horn (Isla Hornos, from SW)
                                                                                              Courtesy: Matthieu Maunier-Rossi

Single-handed sailing from the Basque Country to Puerto Williams, Isla Navarino, Chile.
Then sailing the Beagle channel and the Cape Horn with crew mates.


Trip

Date: October 9, 2015 - January 5, 2016 - February 27, 2016.
Boat: RM1050 Sonabia,  construction year 2007, preparation for Tierra del Fuego 2015.




https://sites.google.com/site/design4sea/projects/mares_del_sur/atlantic_north_south_route_1250_1800.PNG
7702 nautical miles (nm)
88 days, 62 at sea, 26 in ports. 
La Coruña 11 days, Piriapolis 15 days
Performance ~124 nm/day at sea, average speed ~5.2 knots (knts).
Engine 324.5 hours, ~ 13.5 days ~22% of time
11 days with 10 hours engine or more
General rule: use engine when speed falls below 3.5 knts.
Heavy weather:
 Winds force 7-8: 9 episodes
 Winds force 9-10 & more: 1 episode  (plus 2 episodes at port) 
Heaving-to:  6 episodes
Vessels crossed (CPA < 12nm): 65 among which  4 sail ships.
Canarias- Brazil: 6, Brazil- Rio de la Plata: 43, Rio de la Plata - Beagle: 15.

More details: enlarge image

Comparison with the former trip


See Matxitxako-Horn.

The routes to Tierra del Fuego were similar except for a stop in Piriapolis (Uruguay) instead of Mar del Plata (Argentina) and a route closer from the Argentina coast (avoiding big seas, because of a heavy load). 

The weather was more complex but less extreme  (maximum wind above 40 knts vs. above 60 knts).

The speed was markedly lower (averages ~125 nm/day vs 135 nm/day). 
Because the boat was heavily loaded, we had to reef constantly to allow the autopilot to control the boat. In addition, we heaved-to more frequently: the boat was not seaworthy and almost dangerous in big seas.

The engine was used less often.
Explanation: less autonomy because of higher consumption  (on average, 2 L/hour vs. 1.7 L/hour)

Step by step


1. Boat preparation, Socoa, France. May 15, 2015 - September 26, 2015
Chantier Naval de Socoa, Ciboure, France.
Heating and insulation, engine, sails, rigging, electricity, electronics, deck, hull and keels, miscellaneous
Work time ~ 1050 hours.
Launching on September 26 2015.

 
    2015 09 26 - Socoa.

2. Trip preparation,  Hendaye, France. September 27 2015 - October 8, 2015. 
Last works on heating and deck.
Load: spare parts and supplies for several years, food, water, miscellaneous.
Total load ~ 1700 kg (maximal load 1950 kg).
Work time ~ 85 hours.
Then, waiting for a weather window.

 
2015 10 06 - Hendaye

3. Sailing from Hendaye, France to La Coruña, Spain.. Testing the boat. October 9, 2015 - October 11, 2015


Sailing notes. Classical weather along the Spanish coast: Calm in front of the Basque Country, Cantábria y Asturias, then sustained winds ( force 7) in front of Galicia.

Observation. The boat is heavily loaded (1.7 tons) and not seaworthy: uncontrolled roll, unstable in following seas, bow plunging deep into the waves.

4. Stop and remaining work (planned and unplanned), La Coruña. October 12 to 21, 2015.
Planned work: battens, instruments calibration, testing diving equipment and tender.
Unplanned work: fuel lines, deck hardware, minor sail repairs, boom bridle.
Work time ~ 35 hours.
Then, waiting for a weather window.

2015 10 21, Departure, La Coruña, Spain
courtesy: Fred and Pascale, S/Y Haizebi Zaharra

Sailing notes. Evanescent anticyclone on Azores Islands. Instead, several SW lows, one of them almost a tropical storm. Wait for a weather window.


5. Sailing from La Coruña, Spain to La Palma, CanariasOctober 21 to 30, 2015
Stop-and-go (4 hours) to complete fuel tanks and get some fresh food. 


Sailing notes. Complicated navigation. Unreliable weather predictions. Unstable Azores Anticyclone. Local high pressures and calms, unstable winds.

Due to the load of the boat, fuel consumption was unknown. Better to play safe.

.


6 - Sailing from La Palma, Canarias to Piriapolis, Uruguay. October 23, 2015 - December 5, 2015.
Globally easy. Stop in Piriapolis to repair a broken lower stay. Not endangering the mast, but indispensable for the south (stay sail).


Sailing notes. Good northerlies when leaving Islas Canarias, then variable winds until Cabo Verde. The northern trade winds started a little north from Cabo Verde.

The equatorial calms (inter tropical convergence zone) were shifted north (08o N), relatively narrow and very active (a succession of walls of low, dark clouds and squalls coming from south.

Between the convergence zone and the equator, the winds were coming from south, making the progression difficult.

The equator was crossed at longitude 030o23'W.

The Northern coast of Brazil was easy, first southern trade winds, then Brazilian northerlies helped by the Brazilian current.

From Cabo Frio to the Rio de La Plata, the weather was variable.

In front of the Rio de la Plata, a large low generated strong south east winds.

The lower stay broke in front of Brazil. Given the adverse winds, we decided to stop at Piriapolis, Uruguay instead of Mar del Plata, Argentina, which was directly on the route.



7. Stop, waiting for spare parts and repairing a broken stay, Piriapolis. December 6 to 21, 2015.
Waiting for a swageless terminal Stalok, delivery delayed by the factory (see below).
Meanwhile, minor repairs, maintenance and preparation for the South.
Reparation of the staysail when the part finally arrived.
Load of the boat: minimal amounts of food, water and fuel to decrease the load.
Work time ~ 44 hours.

8 - Sailing from Piriapolis, Uruguay to Puerto Williams, Chile. December 21 2015- January 5, 2016.
Complicated, but no problem.

Sailing notes. The nautical guides predict ~ 3 episodes of heavy weather(average of 20 lows per month during the austral summer).

In this trip, the weather was delicate but not extreme. We met several lows, and we heaved-to 3 times in order to wait for favorable winds.

The strongest episode: December 31, in front of Santa Cruz, NE winds of 30 to 40 knts raising big following seas (~4 m. with breakers).

The easiest part: from the Strait of Magellan to the Strait of Le Maire, sustained westerlies at a favorable angle.

The Strait of Le Maire was crossed with the tide, with strong west winds unforeseen by the grib models.

Between the Strait of Le Maire and Puerto Williams, beating and finally pushing the engine against wind gusts up to 30 knts.

Arrival at Puerto Williams with 5 liters of drinkable water, ~ 30L of non drinkable fresh water, food for ~ 2 days (plus emergency rations) and less than 20 L of fuel in the tanks.




.
2016 01 13 - At anchor, Puerto Williams

Boat preparation

After Matxitxako Horn the boat was repaired in 2013 and underwent a deep refit in 2015. See Sonabia for details.

Repairs

The sail drive was repaired (o-rings and seals). 

The rigging was changed. All stays and shrouds but one were reinforced using swageless terminals and mechanical fuses (exception: the lower stay, which broke during the trip).

The sails were repaired and reinforced. We also had a set of new sails on board. 

The rudder was dismounted and the bearing replaced. Note that we found a wrong montage made by the shipyard, which explained the problems that occurred during the former trip.

The anchor windlass was repaired. 

The halyards were replaced by dyneema rope. Spare halyards and pulleys were installed. 

The recovery lines (to pull the sails down)  were conserved, with a simplified circuit.

Preparation

The junction hull-deck was reinforced by installing higher foot rests stratified on deck+hull. 

The deck was covered with an efficient anti slippery  material. 

The deck hardware was simplified. 

The deck safety (lifelines, handles etc) was improved.

The autopilot was equipped with 2 redundant commands (cockpit+cabin) and a joystick.

The engine was equipped with 2 redundant control panels (cockpit and cabin) and an internal morsel.

The anchor windlass was equipped with 2 redundant commands (cockpit and bow) 

The mooring was reinforced. grade 40 anchor chain was installed and the swivel was replaced by 2 high resistance shackles. 

Experimental sail battens. test of main sail full battens with high stiffness and controlled curvature.

Insulation. Walls and ceilings covered with 10mm polyethylene foam (leaving a 10mm layer of air on the ceiling). Double glazing on all portlights. This was not complete in the first trip.

Heating: fuel stove Refleks + engine heater (radiator+fan) instead of Webasto heater.

Anti-condensation: layer below all mattresses and seats (ultra light polycarbonate honeycomb), and on all flat surface in closets, air vents in closets. This was not complete in the first trip.

For more about  the preparation see  Sonabia.


However the boat was not tested before the trip. The first leg towards La Coruña was considered a test at sea and we planned to make corrections and repairs at La Coruña. See the results in next section.

Problems and repairs

34 problems ( breakages, damages and/or malfunctions), among which

3 serious breakages not repaired at sea:
lower stay, 
water in sail drive (seals), 
wind display.

By category:
Rigging: 4 problems, 1 serious breakage + 3 minor damages.
Sails: 4 minor problems + 2 damages caused by battens (see below)
Battens: 8 problems, direct and/or  caused by battens. .
Deck fittings: 5 problems = 2 breakages + 3 minor damages.
Engine: 7 problems =  1 breakage + 6 malfunctions
Electronics: 3 problems = 1 breakage +  2  malfunctions.
Electricity: 1 damage.
Plumbing: 2 = 1 damage + 1 malfunction.

By cause (multiple causes are possible):
Experiments: 11.
Heavy load: 3
Ageing equipment: 4
Errors in preparation: 20
Unexplained: 1

Comparison with the former trip

Except for the problems caused by the experimental battens, there were markedly less problems, (23 vs. 72) but these problems were more serious.  

See Matxitxako-Horn for detailed list.

Analysis of the main problems

The heavy load increased the efforts on the rigging and the autopilot. It presumably caused the break of the stay (the stay was new, the configuration was identical to the former trip, during which there was no sign of fatigue). 

Uncontrolled gybes at the beginning of the trip  generated strong shocks and damages to the boom, the back stay and some deck fittings.  

Explanation: the circuit of the boom brake (a climber's "8") was modified to leave place to the stove's chimney, and the brake became inefficient.

The boom brake was replaced at sea by a bridle to block the boom in position. This proved highly effective.

Clogged fuel lines. This engine malfunction occurred 3 times.  

Explanation: we did not clean the tanks. We realized too late that the tanks are not provided with hatches and had to be dismounted for cleaning, no time for this. We added biocide, but it did not work.

In La Coruña we added an improvised filter at the output of the tanks (shower drain filter: all the materials are fuel compatible). This filter proved effective and easy to clean... and clogged several times until the sh. of the tanks was evacuated. 

Loose morsel cables caused 3 engine malfunctions: the sail drive did not shift into forward. 

Aging equipment caused some problems (morsel, electronics, plumbing). 

The battens were repaired and improved in La Coruña and Piriapolis until all the problems disappeared.  

The battens required the addition of lacing ropes to secure the reefed sail and the installation of stronger lazy jacks  (2 times climbing at the mast at sea, one for repair, the other for replacement).


Analysis of the preparation



Sail drive:  failed again , there was water in the oil almost from the start.

we have no explanation for this failure (new seals, replaced by a mecanic).

Swageless terminals:   YES . The stay that broke was the only one not installed with swageless terminals.

In our opinion, the most important is to have swageless terminals at the upper extremity. The upper extremity seems to suffer more damage, presumably because the movements of the mast generate  non-axial efforts (twist, bending).

However Stalok fittings,  NO.  Stalok was fast to bill us, slow to deliver and arrogant.  Use Petersen Hi-Mod or Norseman terminals instead. 

Stalok sent the parts with an undue delay and did absolutely no follow up of the delivery (in spite of their supposed "responsiveness", according to their site and of their written commitment). 

Why this delay? in spite of having proofs of payment and of their diplomatic blah blah on the phone, they waited for the money to be available on their bank account. Result? 4 days delay = late arrival 4 days after our last possible ETA.

However everything is clear! We are rude and it is all our fault: wrong preparation and planning, wrong mode of payment, wrong courier company and inability to grasp basic facts. Dixit the Stalok Marine Sales Manager. Our last email. The answer from the Stalok Marine Sales Manager

Here are the details (including emails) 


Sails reinforcement:  YES . Unlike the previous trip there were no problems with sails.

Two useful modifications

Reinforced fabric band, with hem and double stitch at the luff, and foot of all sails.

Stopper straps stitched every meter. at the leech and foot  to prevent complete tearing off. 

Dyneema halyards: YES In the former trip, we broke several halyards. In this trip, there were signs of fatigue at the level of pulleys, but no risk of rupture. 

Recovery lines (genoa and main sail): YES . Like in the former trip they have proven very useful to pull down sails in a wide range of winds and courses.

Anchor windlass double command:   YES Useful and reliable.

Anchor chain reinforced, swivel replaced by shackles:   YES . We anchored in winds above 30 knots without any problem, and two shackles replace perfectly a swivel (which is the weakest element).

Reinforced  junction hull-deck and foot rests   YES . The higher footrests were more efficient at sea and the junction presented no sign of damage after this trip.

Deck anti slippery cover:   YES . Ugly (everything is covered by sand and grey painting) but highly efficient. The grip is so good that I even used to work barefoot in all weathers.

Deck fittings: more or less.  Some devices broke (e.g. new blocker for the main sail rail, broken during a gybe) or did not work (e.g. reconfigured boom brake). It needed all the sailing to Piriapolis to improve things. 

Conclusion: modifying the deck configuration requires good thinking and trials at sea.

Deck safety:   YES . The displacement on deck were simpler and safer in all weathers.

Three useful modifications: 

The cockpit was closed by a safety net. Allows to store stuff at the rear (impossible with the original open cockpit).

The upper lateral lifeline was inserted in a tubular strap, which provided a good, comfortable grasp (unlike the original 6 mm line). 

The deck lifelines were centered and elevated (~30 cm to 60 cm), which allows to tie oneself very short.


Most of the time I only used an anchoring belt with a very short loop (heavy configuration, i.e., self rescue tether + life jacket used less than 6 times).


Autopilot with double command (cockpit and cabin):    YES .  Handy in cold weather and at  night. 

Conversely the joystick was only used a few times, for emergency changes of course only.
 
Engine double control panel (cockpit and cabin) and internal morsel:     YES . Handy in cold weather and at night.

Insulation and heating  YES . A clear difference with the first trip. 

Insulation: the boat is warmer in the cold and was fresher in the equator. 

Refleks heater:  very reliable when you got the trick to fire it. Used at 10o heeling and backwind, with strong roll and pitch  (note that the Webasto was NOT reliable. Apparently it did not stand the bad fuel available in Ushuaia).

Engine heating: quite useful during navigation. A few hours a day provide hot water for showers.

Anti-condensation  YES . Much less dampness and bad smells than in the first trip.



Missing in preparation 

Fuel tanks. Install visit hatches  . 

Electronics. Replace preemptively and/or bring complete spare parts for all instruments and sensors (in this trip, were missing a wind display and a depth sensor).

Rigging. Bring a spare lower stay and swageless terminals + studs to repair any stay and/or shroud (in this trip we had only a spare front stay and parts to repair the upper extremities of shrouds and stays).. 

There were also a wrong decision in preparation: we should have installed at once a swageless terminal and a mechanical fuse at the upper extremity of the lower stay. 


Engine. Complete spare parts (in this trip were missing - among others - spare cables and morsel parts.

Formalities and ports

Information concerning for  yachts with European flags starting from Europe.

La Coruña , Spain (Marina Coruña)
Easy access, good services, inexpensive in low season. 

Supplies and technical services: travelift and technical zone in Marina Seca. Spare parts and service providers in town.

Formalities for yacht arrival/departure: none.

Isla La Palma, Canarias (Marina La Palma)
Easy access, good services, pricing = average. Inexpensive fuel.

Supplies and technical services: not tested (short stop).

Formalities for yacht arrival/departure:  WARNING. some countries (e.g., Brazil) will require a check in/ out from the port authorities because the Canarias Islands are tax-free.

Piriapolis, Uruguay (Marina Puerto Piria)

Easy access but WARNING: the GPS coordinates of the web page are wrong (consulted December 5, 2015).  
The marina provides decent services, is inexpensive in low season, but expensive in high season (prices triplicate from mid December)

Technical services:  good travelift (100 tons) and large technical zone but minimal technical services

Supplies: absolutely no spare parts .

Formalities for yacht arrival/departure: easy. 2 quick steps, inmigración y prefectura marítima.

Parts and supplies delivery: bad. Goods are tax-free for foreign yachts, but there are hidden costs and formalities are heavy.

My advice: send goods to Montevideo with some international courier company, then go for them oneself (if there is time) or pay an agente aduanal  to deliver the goods in Piriapolis. It is fast, legal and very expensive. If you plan to do otherwise, see this tedious example.


DHL, parcel~1kg.
6 days to arrive from UK.
Your parcel is in the Customs at Montevideo.
The DHL office in Montevideo refers you to a local company.
This company sends you by mail a set of forms,
Present the forms to the custom office in Piriapolis.
Send back the forms to the local company.
This company gets your parcel from customs.
Finally, DHL brings the parcel to Piriapolis.
Estimate: 1 to 2 weeks.
Hidden costs: you pay DHL for the forms, the company for its services, and the customs for the temporary storage.



Mar del Plata, Argentina (Yacht Club Argentino): see Matxitxako-Horn.

Ushuaia, Argentina (
AFASYN and Club Nautico). 

AFASYN provides classical services, is more expensive and farther from town center  than Nautico. 
The access is easy

Nautico provides less than minimum services (no sanitary block), limited in draft but inexpensive and near town center. Two occasional nuisances: traffic noise and stinky water. 
The access is delicate at night: many buoys and moorings in the way.

Technical services:  no travelift  in the yacht clubs. It is possible to ground at AFASYN (but they charge for it). Some technical services in the city, but no serious sail maker (send sails for repair to Buenos Aires).

Supplies: some providers in town (offer is limited and pricey). Possible to buy in Buenos Aires or  delivery by international courier.


Formalities for yacht arrival/departure: heavy.  2 slow and aleatory steps, Prefectura Marítima and Aduanas.
Waiting time is aleatory and there are many forms to fill (especially in Prefectura, when you must fill 4 identical form and a grumpy suboficial refuses to provide you with carbon paper).

Note that the formalities are simpler than 3 years ago (no boat inspection)

Warning: The Prefectura Marítima closes the port (for departures) for winds above 25 knts.


Puerto Williams, Chile (Club de Yates Micalvi).

2016 02 24- Club de Yates Micalvi, Puerto Williams
Courtesy Matthieu Maunier-Rossi.

Micalvi provides minimal services (marked degradation in 3 years), but is inexpensive. The number of places is limited (in the Seno Lauta, rafted to the stranded vessel Micalvi or at buoys).

Access is uneasy  1) there is kelp in the way (careful con night arrivals) and 2) there is no entry at low tide when there are too many rafted boats.

Supplies and technical services: none. There is a brand new port for fishermen equipped with a 35 tons travelift but to date (January 2016) it is not at work. Getting spare parts is very difficult, and technical services are limited to some mechanic workshops and divers.

Formalities for yacht arrival/departure: very heavy.  5 steps, 2 of them slow. (marked degradation in 3 years). Capitanía (meeting hour is notified by VHF on arrival), Gobernación (Inmigración and Aduanas), SAG (servicio agrícola), Capitanía again, then inspection of the boat by the SAG.

For sailing to Cape Horn or Glaciers without leaving Chilean waters (zarpe simple), 1 slow step at Capitanía. Every person aboard  must be present and sign a form(to certify that this not a commercial navigation.

Note. The formalities are markedly heavier than 3 years ago and there are many restrictions for foreign yachts, especially charters.

For instance, it is currently (January 2016)  forbidden to have fresh food on board, which was tolerated 3 years ago. The boat is inspected.
Some routes are reserved to Chilean yachts.
Recently (February 2016),  strong restrictions / prohibitions have been placed on some charter yachts.


Warning: The Capitanía closes the port (for departures) for winds above 25 knts.


Travelogue


Notes from the electronic log and notes from personal diary.


YEAR MONTH DAY - HOUR (boat clock)
gps LATITUDE LONGITUDE
sog SPEED (knots) cog COURSE 
This is a note from electronic log

  
DATE. 
This is a note from personal diary.


Europe - Hendaye, La Coruña

The first part of the trip is easy until Galicia, where strong winds and hard seas are frequent.
Sailing in front of Portugal  in autumn provides variable conditions, from gentle northern winds and zones of calms to dangerous south-west lows raising huge seas. 




  
2015 10 06, Hendaye. 
Two and half years since the previous navigation between the Basque Country and Tierra del Fuego. Two years building a new boat, then six months to prepare Sonabia for a new start.
Departure is imminent, just waiting for a weather window. 
Dreaming awake. Frequent visions and sensations of the high seas. They decontaminate the mind.
 
2015 10 06 - Hendaye


2015 10 09 - 11:52:15 
gps 43o22.0444 N 001o46.9563 W
Hendaye. Start of the trip today at 1200 official hour, 1000 utc

  
2015 10 09, Hendaye. 
This morning, after breakfast, I decided to walk home for an additional sea jumpsuit. On the way back, in a small street, a lazy dog lays in the middle. It looks at me without moving and flaps its tail. is a beagle basset. I pat its head. Her mistress thanks me. She is a pretty girl. Omen? The mind invents the signs it needs. I feel good.



2015 10 19 - 15:47:11
gps 43o22.0522 N 008o23.1154 W
La Coruña. Start scheduled in 2 days.
11 days stop, 5 days working, the remainder due to bad weath
er.


  
2015 10 19, La Coruña. 
La Coruña is a nostalgic bath without sadness. Long walks and beautiful memories of former visits (M., do you remember?).

Looking backwards, what could I write about the first leg? The come back to sea was fast. No sea sickness, and favorable sailing conditions. Downwind to Cantábria, then engine to Galicia and finally an afternoon downwind at the tiller, full sails in force 6-7 for an arrival at La Coruña just before night. 

There were predictable dysfunctions. Engine clogged, minor damages to the sails fittings, inefficient boom brake to reconfigure, experimental battens needing reinforcement... Few things.

Only worrying point: the boat is heavily loaded and will be dangerous in big waves. However she responds correctly to the tiller and her - modest - performances are not too degraded.

The work on the boat was necessary to complete the preparation. Several important tasks have been scheduled for this stop, on the rigging, the sails and the engine. Other tasks were unplanned, but there were no impediments and no stress. 

Sonabia is as ready as she can be for the Atlantic crossing towards Argentina and the descent to Tierra del Fuego.

Now, just waiting.  Offshore, a force 9 gale for the next 2 days. In the port, rain, wind gusts and squalls. Inside the boat, it is cosy. Sonabia is again welcoming. When necessary, the stove provides a pleasant heat. The noises of the boat, some of them ancient, the other new, are becoming familiar. At sea, between sleep and wake, they will sing marvelous choirs and deliver obscure messages.

In two days, a weather window will open for a short time. There is a passage between a low that blocks the direct route and a narrow band of high pressures at the west. A curved route to search for the wind. It will require an attentive watch of the weather, which is a fragile equilibrium. It is also necessary to navigate lucidly, in order to care for a heavily loaded boat. There is no anxiety, just the expectation of the serenity of the open sea.


2015 10 23 - 10:05:22
gps 40o27.5040 N 011o10.9631 W


  
2015 10 23, Towards Canarias. 

The start from  La Coruña was uneasy. Strong seas and winds, which often occurs around Cabo Finisterre. There were several  failures, the worst being the wind instrument. It is stressing to sail without a cue about the wind force, especially at night. In addition, the boat is too loaded  and the autopilot can barely hold her. I have been reefing permanently in order to slow her down and ease up the pilot.

Yesterday I was strongly tempted to make a stop in order to repair the damages in Camariñas or Vigo. 

NO! Except for the wind instrument, there is everything on board to complete the repairs.

Today, the sailing is cool. Sun and blue skies, favorable wind, smooth waves. A foretaste of the trade winds.


Equator

The equatorial calms (technically: inter-tropical convergence zone).may be tricky. The northern and southern trade winds converge into a moving zone of absolute calms, interrupted by the brutal gusts generated  by big squall clouds (nonetheless, the strongest winds are far from the intensity of the roaring forties).

In this trip, the zone was shifted north, leaving a large band of southern winds to cross before reaching the latitude of Brazil.


2015 11 10 - 16:03:12 
gps 07o52.9085 N 027o33.7712 W 
sog 5.1 cog 186.7 
ENTERING THE EQUATORIAL CALMS. 
calm, residual breezes, low and fuzzy skies. Heat. Small tuna fishes jumping, exocets, plaques of seagrass several meters diameter. Main sail and engine 1800 RPM.


2015 11 11 - 09:05:49
gps 06o37.9062 N 027o49.6607 W
sog 4.2 cog 190.8
SUMMARY OF THE NIGHT: TIRING.
Under engine,  The boat is slow, very likely a counter current.
Squalls with open portlights: too hot to close them, but now I have to dry everything.
Crossed a vessel, it was close (NOTE: no risk, was tracked on AIS).
SE wind raised during the night. If it remains stable, we are almost out of the calms (NOTE: but with adverse winds).
Currently beating, sails + engine in order to keep a correct course. 
Small sails (mainsail 2 reefs, staysail) because a line of low black clouds is approaching.


  
2015 11 11, Equatorial calms. 
All the tones of grey all the varieties of clouds, from black bars to clear veils, mountains made of forms and shades.


2015 11 11 - 21:30:20
gps 06o08.2644 N 028o10.8835 W
sog 3.7 cog 255.9
Squall after squall.
Main sail 2 reefs + staysail, open beating.
Course varied from 185 to 270 within 1 hour,
The wind shifts 50o within a few seconds.
Hard.


2015 11 11 - 22:50:56
gps 06o09.6060 N 028o15.6280 W
sog 2.5 cog 79.2
Heaving-to.
Last possible course 290o, desired course at 182o, completely out of track.
According to grib, it is better to wait.

  
2015 11 13, Equatorial calms.
Slow swells crossing each other, coming from all directions. Memories of surrounding winds. Everywhere,  low over water, clouds are born and travel away.


2015 11 12 - 09:39:04
gps 06o22.8240 N 027o50.6266 W
sog 2.8 cog 78.1
SUMMARY OF THE NIGHT: RESTFUL.
heaving-to under sail.
Constant SW wind (NOTE: contrary) instead of SSE predicted by gribs.
Drifting at 2.5 knts ENE, back 28 nm.
Water: collected more than 40 L during the night (NOTE: with buckets).


2015 11 13 - 11:10:41
gps 05o10.5376 N 028o44.5499 W
sog 4.9 cog 197.2
seen vessel No 7, 1st sail ship.
sloop under sail at 10 H, apparently on parallel course.


2015 11 13 - 12:07:00
gps 05o05.9640 N 028o46.0519 W
sog 5.7 cog 199.1
complicated sailing, winds are evanescent and generally S. Unable to sail SSW (NOTE: direct route)
currently  engine + full sails at beating until the wind allows to sail on the direct route. Note that the SE wind promised by gribs since 3 days is still not here.

2015 11 13 - 13:05:22
gps 05o02.5685 N 028o47.4919 W
sog 2.3 cog 198.3
engine is off, direct route under sails towards Noronha Islands.
ENCOUNTER AT SEA.
sailing yacht Y.M, Malango 990 (it was the boat formerly seen)
sailing at 100 meters, same course. Spoken directly with the skipper, then on VHF.


2015 11 14 - 12:11:40
gps 03o23.1524 N 029o17.7661 W
sog 3.5 cog 201.8
Yesterday, after the 1200utc point, we escaped definitively from the equatorial calms. 
The wind is established S-SE force 2 to 3 and is slowly backing SE 
On the grib, we see clearly the line of convergence of southerly and northerly winds, at latitude 03oN.


2015 11 14 - 16:15:42
gps 03o07.8559 N 029o25.7053 W
sog 5.0 cog 218.1


  
2015 11 14, Southern trade winds.
A couple of birds  hunting flying fishes. Dark birds, large and strong peak, flexible neck, short tail, large and narrow wings, span between  70 cm and 1 m. Petrels? They fly at 10 m with energetic, sudden changes of direction, then they dive and skim the waves  to force the fishes to take off. Then they fly after their prey and catch it in the air or diving into shallow water. A pause to eat, floating, and they take off again. Several minutes between each catch. They remained around the boat for a while, possibly because of the exocets that take off when the boat closes up.


Argentine coast - Roaring forties

Strong winds, strong tidal currents. In this trip we remained close from the coast in order to avoid big seas (loaded boat). Nonetheless, several large gulfs have to be crossed. 

First contact (in front of the Rio de la Plata)

2015 12 21 - 07:01:38
gps 37o09.7569 S 056o19.3113 W
sog 5.2 cog 224.2

Breaking wave on starboard, about 15-30 minutes ago. Big blow, feeling the boat laying horizontal.
Some pots of condiments placed in a tupper (too low) in the kitchen closed flied towards the other side of the cabin.
No damage. The wave was too small and the pilot kept its course. 

Golfo San Jorge. During the direct crossing, the boat is  vulnerable to gales coming from west.

 
2015-12 26 - 0400 legal hour. Dawn before a gale.


2015 12 27 - 22:15:08
gps 45o20.7636 S 064o40.0808 W
sog 4.2 cog 189.3
The announced west wind finally arrived (NOTE. prediction of winds force 6 - 7). Until now (first part of the night), the wind was blowing from east, port side.
Sailing safe: main sail with 2 reefs, genoa with 1 reef.


2015 12 27 - 23:56:17
gps 45o28.6652 S 064o42.4750 W
sog 5.9 cog 212.1
Sail ship A., right in my ass. Contacted by VHF, I change course, 5 minutes west to be on parallel course (NOTE. I detected them by AIS. They were on a collision course 1 knot faster than us, but it seems that they did not notice)


2015 12 28 - 01:08:56
gps 45o35.9281 S 064o44.3012 W
sog 6.7 cog 194.1
Sail ship A. reefed and slowed down. I leave here behind, course on 195 to come back on track and sleep for a while 
The wind is stronger, the waves start to hit the hull. It swings and rolls but no need to reef further or use the stay sail.


Daily point. It is done every day at 1200-1230 UTC. (08:17 is the boat's clock).

2015 12 28 - 08:17:52
gps 46o07.1804 S 064o55.7236 W
sog 4.9 cog 187.0
Currently under engine, lazy NW wind.
In low pressures (1001-1002mb)
Yesterday, no wind and adverse currents, the wind promised by the grib did not come.
In the night, episode of NW wind under main sail 2 reefs and genoa 1 reef, borderline but OK.
DAILY POINT.
Trip 6649 nm. (Note: from La Coruña),during last 24h: 107 nm.
Waypoint Puerto Deseado at 187o, distance 115 nm.
Progression on route during last 24h: 95 nm.
Engine from Piriapolis 51.3h, during last 24h: 12.9h.
WATER AND FOOD
Drinkable water: very short. 3 1/2 cans (5L each), water tanks: port 1/8 left, starboard: almost empty. Note that water from tanks is not drinkable, even boiled.
Note: control food consumption.
WEATHER AND ROUTING
New grib. Forecasts STRONG winds for tuesday 0000h. It will be a 10 nm play. With an average speed of 5.6 knts instead of 4.2 knts, we will be sheltered by the coast. Today, engine, sails... whatever is necessary to keep moving. 



2015 12 28 - 17:39:03
gps 46o53.3218 S 065o05.0928 W
sog 4.8 cog 187.6



  
2015 12 26, Argentine coast.
Before the gale.
The barometer goes down and down.. far below the weather forecast. And now, the pressure goes up again. Unequivocal sign of strong winds, violent in these areas. The continental winds which sweeps the pampa. Here, lows and gales occur at an astounding rhythm. .
A grey veil appears in the sky at the horizon. The veil raises and covers the blue. The light becomes grey silver, the sea dark and effervescent. .The dolphins are still here, their back cut the waves and throw lines of white foam.
We are almost arriving at the southern end of Golfo San Jorge. Too far to shelter near the coat. We are about to take solid winds for a while.
In the middle of the gulf, the hell: far from the shore, the wind is stronger and the waves higher. Near the cape, the wind also grow stronger, channeled by the shore. After the cape, the wind is less strong and the waves do not have time to grow. For now, the boat has her heavy weather sails, we are ready.


2015 12 28 - 18:07:15
gps 46o55.5615 S 065o05.4078 W
sog 4.8 cog 184.0


  
2015 12 28, Argentine coast.
In the gale.
Noise. The engine was running all day long to increase speed and get out of Golfo  San Jorge as soon as possible. Now the engine is off. The wind blows with force, it can be heard from everywhere.The wake hisses, halyards are slamming. The wind generator adds its whistling. Some people hate it, me I like it. It tells me how strong the wind is. In the background, the uncountable voices of the waves, still small, and of their crests that break. Soon it will roar.


2015 12 28 - 19:14:49
gps 46o59.1227 S 065o04.4125 W
sog 3.5 cog 93.5
Wind S-SW instead of expected NW! Solid gusts.
Half-running down at 100o, under furled stay sail.


2015 12 28 - 22:37:52
gps 47o11.3119 S 065o00.9841 W
sog 3.6 cog 161.0
Strong current, more than 3 knts! We are getting out of Golfo San Jorge at decreasing tide.
Apparent wind 90o starboard, main sail 2 reefs + staysail. Surface speed 0.7 knot, average speed on ground 4 knots
.

2015 12 29 - 07:16:48
gps 47o34.9407 S 064o54.7944 W
sog 4.0 cog 188.2


  
2015 12 29, Argentine coast.
Writing again.
During this trip, I thought about writing a dairy, something more personal than during the last navigation. From the start, I did not want it anymore. I feel repugnant to exhibit one's guts, then to look at oneself. This is as null as a selfie, nothing but a mirror shared with anybody. Also, I felt lazy. Now the need to write is back with the feelings of South. 
After the gale.
Yesterday at the end of the day, the expected gale arrived. As a prelude, the light changed, the sea started to buzz and hiss, the wind increased, first from the aft, as expected. With its heavy weather sails, Sonabia took it quietly. Suddenly the wind backed, almost in front of the route, and started to scream. Impossible to stay on the track, obliged to deviate east, at course 90o. Strong gusts, very strong, that the boat took from starboard. Heavy, Sonabia was pushing the water sideways at each wave, creating large spots of foam and throwing away spray, swept off immediately by the wind.
Then, the calm. As sudden as the wind. During the rest of the night, Sonabia sailed quietly, helped by a strong tidal current. A restful night. At dawn (0400AM) all sails up and Sonabia resumed on its course in a cold wind.
Feelings of the South, skies are blue and pure, the wind brings a taste of the Antarctic ices, the sea is infinite. The boat cuts the water with a silky noise.



Faro Santa Cruz. From here to the Strait of Le Maire, the coast line draws a wide arc, the Strait of Magellan being in the bottom. 

2015 12 31 - 06:44:51
gps 49o55.5240 S 067o33.3147 W
sog 5.0 cog 221.8
Argentine coast becomes visible. Position: between Faro San Francisco de Paula and Faro Santa Cruz. White cliffs. 
Dolphins, always, at any time.


Daily point.

2015 12 31 - 08:11:09
gps 50o00.9630 S 067o41.7326 W
sog 5.5 cog 230.7

Yesterday contrary winds and sea, two tacks at beating. Then at nightfall, calm and engine. Limited progression, beating against waves is almost pointless.
Currently in front of the extreme point of the coastline before Faro Santa Cruz. In order to shelter before the gale predicted for today.
Refill of fuel tanks, 20 liters each tank.
DAILY POINT
Trip 6961 nm., during last 24h: 108 nm.
Waypoint Faro Santa Cruz at 162o, distance 8.8 nm.
Progression on route during last 24h: 80 nm.
Engine from Piriapolis 101 h., since refill: 3.7 h. (on starboard tank).


Before the gale


2015 12 31 - 09:30:54
gps 5006.1410 S 06751.1461 W
sog 5.3 cog 232.8
New grib downloaded, confirms former forecast. 
The wind comes from N-NE, 13 knts for now, and will increase above 40 knts.
Currently sailing directly downwind at 170o, staysail + main sail 3 reefs, ready to be pulled down.
Dolphins, dolphins. One of them managed to send water into the cabin's entry.




2015 12 31 - 09:44:24
gps 50o06.9458 S 067o52.7266 W
sog 5.9 cog 230.8

  
2015 12 31, Argentine coast.
Waiting for the big  winds.
Since the last gale, at the exit of Golfo San Jorge, the navigation was complicated. Calms, changing breezes, a few episodes of solid following winds, and contrary winds that forced two large tacks against a sea that rapidly became hard. Yesterday, after 11 hours of fast beating, the actual progression was only 19 miles.
Also, the tidal currents push and pull alternatively at unexpected speeds. At 30 miles offshore, there were currents of about 3 knots.Against current, the progression is desperately slow whereas the boat seems to sail fast. With current, the boat goes at a surprising speed in feeble breezes that normally should not have moved it.
And kelp! These large algae (submarine trees, actually) form heavy packets at the surface, barely visible in the waves.  2, 3 times, the boat went directly into kelp patches, stopping suddenly or turning like an animal tied to a pole. Engine in reverse, "8" turns until large threads of kelp detach from the boat or  hang at the aft, cut with a machete and repeat until the keels, the rudder and the propeller are free.
However, this complicated sailing is worth the effort: the pure and fresh air, the large blue skies, feelings of the South I have been awaiting for 3 years.
Now, waiting for the big southern wind. Unlike the former gales, this one will last 1 or 2 days (NOTE: instead of several hours), with episodes above 45 knots. NE wind that will push us southwards. Under stay sail alone and/or with the main sail with 4 reefs, the boat can sail in very strong winds. However, this wind comes from open sea and will raise big waves. These following seas are treacherous and dangerous. If it becomes too strong, we will have to heave-to, loosing the benefits of sailing downwind.
In order to get a bit of protection during the first hours of the gale, since yesterday we follow a course that closes up to the coast. High white cliffs are already in sight. We will turn around the lump that the coast draws between Faro Francisco de Paula and Faro Santa Cruz. The shore will protect us for a while against the big  waves coming from N-NE.
No big expectations, however: we entered the screaming fifties, the southern latitudes where the wind is free and the ground is no longer an obstacle. The wind will increase progressively and the sails will be reduced or pulled down accordingly, until we reach the storm configuration, under furled stay sail alone.
For now a grey veil extends over the horizon, the wind increases slowly, accompanied by the hissing of the wind generator. In the water, bands of dusk dolphins, playing at the bow and in the wake. I hear them breath and splash.


2015 12 31 - 11:54:03
gps 50o16.1082 S 068o06.9919 W
sog 5.1 cog 205.4
Sailing under stay sail alone, 
wind 18 knts, episodes above 20 knts, at 140o port
Warning: add 2 knots for the difference SOG - surface speed given by the speed instrument.
(NOTE: wind instrument is temporarily working).


2015 12 31 - 12:17:40
gps 50o17.7296 S 068o08.8369 W
sog 5.3 cog 232.3
wind: 22 knts (warning: add 2 knots)


2015 12 31 - 13:11:30
gps 50o20.7440 S 068o14.4565 W
sog 5.6 cog 229.2
wind: 24 knts (warning: add 2 knots)


2015 12 31 - 14:48:32
gps 50o27.0885 S 068o23.2651 W
sog 5.8 cog 218.6
wind: 25 knts (warning: add 2 knots)


2015 12 31 - 14:49:35
gps 50o27.1694 S 068o23.3616 W
sog 5.5 217.8
wind : episodes 27 knts (warning: add 2 knots)


2015 12 31 - 14:56:47
gps 50o27.6875 S 068o23.9737 W
sog 5.2 216.1
unstable in following waves, say sail furled a little more in order to slow down.
wind: episodes 28 knts (warning: add 2 knots)


2015 12 31 - 15:15:26
gps 50o28.8936 S 068o25.5579 W
sog 5.9 cog 222.8
wind: episodes 29 knts (warning: add 2 knots)



2015 12 31 - 16:16:48
gps 50o32.5027 S 068o31.4179 W
sog 5.2 cog 223.8

  
2015 12 31, Argentine coast.
In a raising gale.
The wind arrived. The sea is a noisy silver, the albatros fly up and down touching the sprays. The wake of the dolphins is invisible but they are here, playing in the waves. 
On starboard, in a hazy distance, the Argentine coast. Through a portlight, a small troop of penguins floating heads above the water, beside a resting albatros.
The boat goes forward,  under furled stay sail. The bow sounds like a strong murmur, the wind sings in the halyards. Heavily loaded, the boat plunges in the waves, rolls and straightens up. On her swaying path, the boat goes forward.


2015 12 31 - 16:37:00
gps 50o34.3391 S 068o32.2065 W
sog 5.8 cog 195.4
Change of course. starting to round up the coast
Wind: episodes 30 knts (warning: add 2 knots)


2015 12 31 - 17:42:00
gps 50o40.6301 S 068o34.7141 W
sog 6.1 cog 193.1
Wind: 30 to 32 knts (warning: add 2 knots), 
Sea ~2 m, steep. In a contrary current.


NOTE: wind instrument KO again.

2015 12 31 - 18:47:28
gps 50o47.3950 S 068o37.3867 W
sog 6.8 cog 195.9
Breaking wave! I was reading in the rear cabin. I hear a  hissing, stronger and stronger, then a gigantic slap shakes the boat. During a moment, through the starboard port light I am looking below water.
Then things go on as usual, the boat follows her track, waddling.



2015 12 31 - 20:14:45
gps 50o56.3303 S 068o37.8272 W
sog 3.7 cog 179.3
A momentary calm, wind backing N-NW.
New grib: consistent with the former one: wind blowing from N-NE, intensity will keep on increasing.
Local anomaly: pressure does not match with the grib predictions, the barometer climbs up to 1009mb. (NOTE: it was only a temporary zone of calm, the gale resumes later as predicted by models).


Barograph 2015 12 31. Temporary calm (local anomaly).

  
2015 12 31, Argentine coast.
Time out.
Say that it is half-time and relax. It was hot, with growing waves, steep, 3 m. to 4 m. More dangerous, I observed small waves travelling sideways, climbing on the main waves and breaking. I have also seen some waves breaking at a place, and the following growing very steep and breaking exactly at the same place. (NOTE: the result for the boat is a devastating series of blows).



2015 12 31 - 21:41:37
gps 51o02.5331 S 068o35.6271 W
sog 5.5 cog 156.7
Stay sail + main sail 3 reefs.
The barometer is above 1010 mb...  for now.
Wind: for now 15-19 knts N (NOTE: estimate from hand anemometer) 



2016 01 01 - 09:13:52
gps 51o48.3553 S 068o03.5409 W
sog 3.7 cog 163.1

  
2016 01 01, Argentine coast. 
Gale over.
The gale is over. The boat sails slowly towards the Strait of Magellan. There is fog, the wind is soft. The waves remain big, memory of the strong winds blowing at our north east.The water is lapping on the hull, familiar song. A pulley is slamming.
The stove is warm, and the damp coldness disappears little by little. Moment of farniente: nothing to do. The wind is disappearing, but in such a big sea, using the engine would be pointless. Just wait for the sea to flatten. Meanwhile, the boat sails slowly.



Strait of Le Maire. The Strait of Le Maire is between the south east extremity of Tierra del Fuego and the Isla de los Estados. Crossing the Strait is tricky, because of the strong winds and tidal currents. When the Strait is crossed, the route goes west towards the Beagle Channel.



2016 01 03 - 15:09:17
gps 54o33.3834 S 065o20.3381 W
sog 3.6 cog  92.4

  
2016 01 03, Argentine coast
Closing to the Strait of Le Maire.
One of the most difficult points of the navigation. The strong tidal currents oblige to cross the Strait at decreasing tide and more important without any contrary wind, which would raise steep waves.
I spotted a precise timing 3 days ago: at high tide in the night of Monday 4, where the weather files predicted a short window of calm.
In order to reach this window, it was necessary to sail in slow motion, with very small sails (stay sail partially furled), to heave to, to sail at beating towards the shore...
But at 25 nm of the way point, problem: a contrary wind, force 4 or 5 appeared. Unexpected.
A new grib file provides pessimistic predictions: the wind should calm down during the crossing of the Strait, but should back afterwards, which means a strong contrary wind to sail westwards towards Puerto Williams.
No time to wait for the next weather window (5 days waiting during the former trip). Engine against wind to catch the tide, then fuck the purism: engine plus sails against wind, to the end of the trip. We saved enough fuel since Piriapolis: the remainder should be enough to reach Puerto Williams.




2016 01 04 - 19:33:27
gps 55o04.8576 S 066o22.5146 W
sog 3.5 cog 266.4
  
2016 01 03, Argentine coast
Closing to the Beagle Channel.
Within an hour, we will enter the Beagle Channel. Almost the end of the trip, but not so simple: in the next hours, the weather forecast predicts contrary wind with strong gusts. We will use the engine with the remaining fuel, engine working hard and boat in slow motion, pushing through the wind and the short waves. 
Last night, crossing of the Strait of Le Maire, at the 04:30 UTC tide, i.e., 30 minutes past midnight on the boat's clock.
Following the instructions of the nautical guide, we reached a waypoint north of the Strait 2 hours before high tide, then we sailed south against a current that was still very strong. In spite of a steady wind, the boat was sailing very slowly, 1 1/2 knot (3 km/h). 
The night fell during this purgatory. In addition, against weather previsions, a strong transverse wind (NW) raised. 
During the night, the current inverted. The boat gained speed, sailing in waves that became steeper every minute. Roll and slam and raise foam! but always going ahead.
The tide was softening as we progressed south, but the current and the wind still pushed us at a good speed towards the exit point of the Strait, where we had to change course, westwards towards the Beagle Channel.
Shit. The engine stops. Too many waves and shocks, the dirtiness in the bottom of the tanks clogged the fuel lines.
We have to go away as soon as possible, before the tide inverts again and send us back in the Strait. I set more sails, the boat goes away slowly in a weakening wind. Now let us clean. Pray for the wind to hold.
It took almost 2 hours, whereas it could have been done in 10 minutes. Let us save the technical details: I was simply not cleaning the fuel lines at the right place.
Finally, the engine started again. I yell with joy and we are on the road again, against the tide, towards the Beagle Channel, at 50 miles. At a distressing slowness, but we did not crossed the Strait backwards. Looking back, this has been the most stressful moment of the trip.



Sailing around Navarino Island


January- February 2016. Sailings from Puerto Williams, West towards the glaciers, East towards Puerto Toro and Cabo de Hornos. Fragmentary notes.


2016 01 13 - 07:48:40
gps 54o55.8440 S 067o36.6187 W
sog 0.5 cog 172.2

  
2016 01 13, Puerto Williams, Chile.
Happiness.
Anchored in the Bay of Puerto Williams. Sun, blue sky and fast clouds. The mountains are white  after the snow falls of the last two days. The wind blows strong and loud, the halyards slam and sing.
Outside, everything is clear and cold.The boat turns slowly around her anchor. The stove snores, it is  warm inside.Happiness.

2016 01 13 - At anchor, Puerto Williams



2016 01 15 - 07:20:12
gps 54o52.4974 S 068o44.7822 W
sog 5.4 cog 121.8

  
2016 01 15, Bay of Yendegaia.
Yendegaia, from the past.
Leaving the Bay of Yendegaia in the mist. We spent a night at anchor in Caleta Ferrari, in front of a few abandoned houses. Nostalgy and joy. Memories of happy moments during our first trip here. Memories of people that were living here and are now gone. On an unused work bench, in an empty house, old newspapers. The most recent is from July 4, 2014. Now, the mist is gone.

2012 12 31. Bay of Yendegaia, Caleta Ferrari. 





2016 01 16 - 01:31:16
gps 54o53.5158 S 068o12.5198 W
sog 4.7 cog 89.0

  
2016 01 16, Beagle West. 
A short trip in the Glaciers.
The night is soft. The wind is gone, the water moves gently, light mist. High in the sky, the Southern Cross. 
Before this moment of harmony, there was a glorious night fall. South, flamboyant clouds on the snowy mountains. North, the waning moon. In front and behind us, the Beagle Channel. 
Before this glorious nightfall, we left behind the fork between the two branches of Beagle Channel, Brazo Suroeste and Brazo Noroeste. We left behind the passage of Devil Island and its eddies that deviate the boat. The western wind that has been blowing strongly all day long was now with us. The boat was sliding effortless under reduced sails.
Before this easy return was the uneasy sailing towards the Ventisqueros (Glaciers) against the west wind, against hard, short waves that break the momentum of the boat. Cheating, hiding behind every cape and promontory to shelter against the waves. The boat, under engine was slamming and punching in the waves, slowly progressing westwards.

2016 02 12. Beagle channel, west.




2016 01 26 - 08:08:00
gps 54o59.4202 S 067o08.2383 W
sog 4.4 cog 320.6

  
2016 01 26, Canal Pictón. 
A perfect morning.
Leaving Puerto Toro at 0630AM, destination Puerto Williams. The water is calm and shiny. East, the light is reaching the clouds, grey, then red, then glorious. 
Slow passage in front of the Islet of the sea lions. Huge males roaring in the middle of laying females and young. Cormorants.
Sailing Canal Pictón at slow speed, acrobat dolphins jumping and jumping again. Now closing to Isla Snipe. The sky is a great blue over the mountains, over the top of the hills still covered with snow. A gentle northern breeze appeared, the air is fresh and pure, the sea sings gently.
A perfect morning.
2016 01 28 - Sunrise in Picton Channel.
Courtesy Carlos Guevara



2016 01 29 - 16:15:39
gps 55o29.9260 S 066o54.3833 W
sog 5.9 cog 19.9


  
2016 01 29, Nassau Bay.
Hornos, 400 años.
Returning from Cabo de Hornos, invited by the Chilean Navy to the ceremony of the 400th year of the discovery (W. Schouten, 1616). A nice trip, with a nice crew, and a blessed weather. 
Stop for one night at Puerto Toro, walk in the hills then merienda at the place of A. and MV.
At dawn, departure. Sails + engine through Paso Goree and crossing Bahia Nassau. 
Following night at anchor in Caleta Martial,  Isla Herschel. Cape Horn is only at a few miles. Asado on the beach, followed by a short bath. In the water: C and E. Spectators: I., R., S., D. (all laughing) and a sea otter. During the night, strong westerly winds, without problem. 
At dawn, sails + engine, then sails alone towards Isla Hornos.  During the ceremony, along with the other invited yachts (7 in total), sailing in slow motion behind the Island, and around the Military boat Aquiles at anchor. 
We left soon. Crossing of Nassau Bay under sails + engine, then sails alone. Sailing through Paso Franklin (E of Isla Lennox) to reach Canal Picton.
Finally, night sailing to Puerto Williams in a perfect calm. Crossing the Mac Kinley Pass in silence. Sometimes, sound of cormorants taking off in front of Sonabia.  Then silence again.

 
2016 01 28. Skies in Nassau Bay. Courtesy: Carlos Guevara.


  
2016 01 29, Puerto Toro.
Puerto Toro.
On the way to Hornos, we stopped at Puerto Toro.  Deep empathy with this hamlet  and warm memories of former visits (M. do you remember?). 
Puerto Toro is  the southernmost hamlet of America. At first sight, a few houses, a dock, a chapel and a school. But Puerto Toro is much more than that: it is the hospitality of the inhabitants, the peace and the beauty of the site.
Short walk  to the Indian Cemetery. The bones of ancient yaghanes recently discovered and buried high in the hills, facing Canal Pictón and the Rising Sun.
Merienda en casa de MV. and A. MV. is Chief of the Destacamento de Carabineros de Chile. MV. loves Puerto Toro and he transmits it. A. is a most warmful person and a great cook. Hasta pronto, MV., A. and Puerto Toro.
2016 01 27 - Puerto Toro from water (Courtesy Damien Lochon)

 
2016 01 27 (Courtesy Damien Lochon)                        2016 02 24 (Courtesy Matthieu - Maunier-Rossi).



2016 02 12 - 19:59:19
gps 54o57.7700 S 068o52.5464 W
sog 5.0 cog 79.6

2016 02 12, Beagle Channel.
The music of the light.
Returning from Beagle Brazo Noroeste. It is the end of the day. Blue sky, mountain slopes illuminated by the setting sun. Following wind, under main sail alone, Sonabia goes slowly. Voluntary slowness, to arrive at Puerto Williams at dawn. Slow sailing between snowy peaks. 
Music. Cecilia Todd, traditional songs. Bright and sweet like the light, like this slow sailing.

 
2016 02 12 - Beagle Channel W.




2016 02 14 - 07:10:40
gps 54o56.0948 S 067o37.1198 W
  
2016 02 14, Puerto Williams.
Wedding.
Yesterday, wedding at Batería Róbalo, an historical site of the aborted war between Chile and Argentina (1978). Simple, wonderful, moving ceremony. An arc of branches decorated with a few flowers, a table covered with a white cloth.
In background, the Beagle Channel and the mountains, voluminous clouds and veils of rain. Suddenly the clouds open, the sun appears. The judge reads her text, the spouses kiss, glorious sky, silvery waters. Tears.
 
2016 01 - Beagle Channel seen from Isla Navarino. Courtesy Carlos Guevara



  
2016 02 29, Punta Arenas.
Leaving.
We returned from our last trip to Cape Horn 3 days ago, different and beautiful in its own way. Sonabia is now moored behind the Micalvi and prepared for her long winter. 
I left Puerto Williams yesterday on the Yaghan, the weekly ferry between Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams. Last night, we passed through the Paso Ballenero, where, 3 years ago I did the hazardous imbecility of sailing by night, at engine against gusts reaching 50 knots. This morning, we passed in front of the Rompiente del Canal Ocasión, the rock that marked the extreme western milestone of the former trip. Mind stirring. 
Tomorrow, plane towards Santiago, then plane again towards the Neurotic, Idiot Europe, floating adrift in the flow of history. It is no longer our place. 
Hasta pronto, Mares del Sur.

 
2016 02 25 - Isla Hornos NO extremity                           From south (Courtesy Matthieu Maunier-Rossi).                                    

2016 02 25, SW of Isla Hornos (Courtesy Matthieu Maunier-Rossi)



Thanks

... to Floren, my friend and former navigation teacher, for the follow  up of the Atlantic crossing in Facebook.  http://www.facebook.com/EscuelaNauticaProbanza

.. to Maite for the Spanish translation, among others.

Glossary and acronyms

.. limited to the most esoteric terms.

AIS (automated information system): digital radio signal sent automatically by a ship to indicate her name, position, course, etc. With a receptor, you are warned when any boat emitting an AIS signal is close.

E, S, N, W, NE, etc. Directions east, south, north, west and combinations. 
Wind: indicates the origin, e.g. NE wind = wind blows from the north east.
Current: indicates the destination, e.g. current S = flows towards south
Course: indicates where the boat goes, e.g., course SE = the boat goes towards south east.

Grib (gridded binary format): weather files downloaded by iridium satellite phone. Contains weather models, i.e. maps with current situation and predictions for the next days.

Heaving-to: stop the boat and let it drift slowly

Iridium: satellite phone, used for SMS, vocal calls, and most important to download weather information (grib files). 

KNTS: knots. speed in nautical miles / hour (km/h: multiply by 1.85)

NM: nautical mile = 1,852 km

Running (a gale): leave the boat go with the wind and the waves (in the case of Sonabia: slowly).

VHF: marine radio (very high frequency).


FRA mares-del-sur-fra ESP mares-del-sur-esp