Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Xplore Arrives in Buenos Aires

In the heat of the night The day sets and the sun slips low over the flat landscape of Argentina, only hours after the moon - merely a crescent- also drops to the horizon. But the heat from the day lingers on as we glide along through the mud brown waters of the River Plate (Rio de la Plata 'river of silver' -- I don't know where the silver is because every time I have come here it's always been mud ! ). We have had a very smooth, and interesting trip north: it's been fast, considering the weather systems and the distance (1440 nautical miles) and through good luck and planning we were able to sit on the right side of the weather systems, giving us such good sailing conditions. After being in Tierra del Fuego for some months and having to do so much motor sailing, it has been such a real pleasure to actually sail Xplore, 24/7. God, she is a great sailor: she laps up the miles and loves the wind. During this voyage we have passed our 20,000 nautical mile mark since launching her in mid-2007, and some incredible miles we have done; and the places ... well even the photos can't tell the full story. We will dock at Yacht Club Argentina, in the centre of Buenos Aires in the early hours of the morning, where I plan to toast Xplore and my crew, whom I have been so pleased and proud of this season. Audrey, as first mate, and Julia crew and second engineer, are a brilliant pair of girls -- anyone who thinks that big boats need to be sailed by big butch blokes is definitely wrong, it's all about technique: brains not brawn. For all of us this trip north has been great, and to feel the warmth of the sun has been a real change. To be able to come up on deck with only one layer of thermals on and to lay in bed without a thick duvet wrapped around you and have to wait the 10 minutes before the cold chill turns into warmth has been a real change, but mind you it has had its drawbacks as well. The change from cold to warm and then hot climates takes a lot to get used to and our bodies have reacted. Dehydration has brought days of headaches, swollen glands and we just can't seem to get enough water in us as we adjust to the temperature change. Even the thick skin on our hands (which your body builds up to fight off the cold freezing conditions in the South) is starting to show the tell-tale signs of dropping off. Yes in previous years I have felt like a snake as large thick layers of skin suddenly fall off your hands as the heat and the climate changes ... oh well that's life in the South. Xplore will be based in Buenos Aires for five days before we take her to Uruguay where we can lift her out of the water for normal annual maintenance and painting. We have a few modifications planned to make her even better, but during the winter break we will still keep in touch with you all with details and plans of next season's exciting events and programs. If you sailed with us this season, thank you for your company and busines! If you didn't, then I hope we see you on board soon! Stephen Wilkins and all the Team of Xplore

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