Preparing for Cape Horn

Evening All.

Light and shifting winds plagued my sleep last night as the winds continued to drop out as the High-Pressure Ridge settled over me.  By 3am I was sailing in 5-7 knots of winds from the SSW.  Before sleep the night before I had shaken out the main sail to the 1st reef and changed my jibs over so that I was sailing on the No 1 sail more suited to light winds.  Climate Action Now did manage to continue to move but at some stages it was at 3 knots so not great progress.

The winds remained below 7 knots until mid-afternoon when they began to fill in from the NW at 10-13 knots.  This helped my speed dramatically given me a healthy 7-8 knots of boat speed.  As the winds were veering around from the SW to the NW I kept just bearing away with it until my course was 170 True.  I finally put the gybe in and am now sailing on a Port Tack (winds coming over the port side of the boat) and am on a perfect course for Cape Horn of 130 True.

There was less than 2 meters of swell around today so while the winds were light I finally took the opportunity to replace the broken wind generator blades on the Starboard Silent Wind Generator.  I managed to get the bolt loose after some tug-a-war and changed out the blades without much trouble but I think that I have tightened the unit too much as there seems to be some friction in the spinning of the blades so I will try again tomorrow to look at it.

Also in the light weather I finally got the chance to enjoy one of my delightful 'bucket baths'...  I ran the Wallas Heater all day to warm up the cabin enough and finally gritted my teeth at sunset and got in and got it done.  Burr.  Finally, I can enjoy the clean feeling again for a few days at least and my hair is washed again.  Yeh.  I do have to say though that it is simply not easy to get oneself clean with 2 kettles full of water while you are crouched on the floor with your head over a bucket...  Maybe I should be saying that I am now less dirty than before...

With a clean body comes clean clothes. I not only changed out my Zhik Base layers but I also added a layer of Zhik Marino Wool thermals and my flexible body armour.  Zhik went to great lengths to customize various items for me on this trip and one of those was to have flexible armour plates added into pockets on a set of base layers.  The armour is motorcycle rated and hardens on impact but is cushioned with a layer of neoprene.  I have pads on my shin, knees, hips, back, ribs, elbows and shoulders. If I get thrown by a big wave or fall hard I am less likely to injure myself.  The knee pads are a god send.  When I am in rough weather I wear the extra armour layer and I also have a crash helmet to use, supplied by Gath. The helmet has a face shield to so I can also utilise it on deck to help me see in the sea spray.

Now, up to date I haven’t needed to use any of these items.  I am hoping with fingers crossed that even though I will be wearing them that I hopefully won’t be needing them now.  The reason that I am putting them on is because I am now less than 500 nm from rounding Cape Horn.  3 days away...  And unlucky for me I am now trying to out sail what could become a massive storm that may hit right when I make my rounding.  So, given the amount of ships, islands, reefs and rocks as well as the fact that the depth of the sea goes from 5000m to 50 meters over 50nm so I am likely to have dangerous sea conditions. I am taking all precautions possible to ensure a safe passage.  I am hoping that the weather system is delayed long enough for me to pass the Horn and get back out to sea and off the Continental shelf.  Should I need to pass Cape Horn in a storm I will likely just go wide of everything……. but we shall see what tomorrows forecast shows.

Given that I am now approaching land I have also had the charts out today.  All my charts, including the electronic ones have been supplied to me by Cairns Charts and Maps and I believe I am carrying over 60 different charts for this trip.  Today I have out the charts for the coast of chili and Argentina just to refresh my memory on where the hazards are and the rocks and reefs...  For now, I am 200nm off the coast of Chili keeping outside of the shallow waters marking the edge of the continental shelf sailing in a steady 10 knots of wind from the NE and while the weather permitted I made a lovely dinner tonight of tomato soup and skillet cooked bread, yumm.