On ice

Average winds of 50 knots, gusts up to 65. During this black night, illuminated only by the white caps, Gitana 13 is heaved-to, no sails up, the wheel tied off, with the men on watch keeping an eye on things.  Surrounded by the sensation of major storms, those that leave their mark. A few big swells roll in and shake things up, but we are pretty well protected by Tierra del Fuego. Farther out, where we would be if we hadn't decided to wait things out, it must be hell. The mere thought of it, when we see how the seas batter the boat here, sends shivers down our spine, and the mast alone is enough. Any more would simply be too much. And then the thought of sailors from bygone days who had to face the same storms...but they didn't have any way to avoid them like we do today. How did they do it? Respect!

Tonight, Sunday night, we are at about the same place as we were Saturday morning—north of the mouth of Lemaire Channel—thanks to the weather forecast. It alone prevented us from taking a real beating. Yesterday, Saturday, we could have rounded Cape Horn, but it was afterward that things would have gotten dicey. Cape Horn is one thing, but getting around the whole southern tip of the Americas and climbing upwind along the coast of Chile—one of the most inhospitable coasts in the world—is another. That's where we would be now, starting our turn northward, if we hadn't put things on ice. We wouldn't be dealing with little swells, but big breaking rollers six to ten meters high, if not more. With no way out if there was a problem. The southwesterly to westerly wind relentlessly batters the coast. No need to say more, since we, like the boat, are sitting it out for now. The rest is just conjecture. We hope to leave our pseudo pit stop on Wednesday. By then, a new low-pressure system, similar to the one that we're experiencing now, will have passed through. We'll be able to get back on the road, even though the going won't get any easier.


Nicolas Raynaud


The content that appears on this website is protected by copyright.
Any reproduction or representation is strictly forbidden.

For further information, please refer to the legal notice section.
Enter at least 4 characters...