In the depths of a southern hemisphere winter in Ushuaia July 2009, I met with three Admirals who were visiting from Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago Chile. What could have brought these desk Admirals to the coldest ends of the South America continent at this time of the year ? Skiing ? Not likely, but a dream to celebrate 200 years of when Argentina and Chile first made moves to cut ties with Spain and establish themselves as new countries of the south, that was in 1810 and a lot has changed since then.
My meeting and dinner with them at the sleepy airoclub also inspired me, because their plan to celebrate the bi-centenary was to bring together one of the largest fleets of Tall Ships that still sail and to make a regatta by rounding of South America. From Rio de Janeiro Brazil, south with stops in Argentina and Uruguay around Cape Horn, then north along the Chilean coastal historic ports to Peru, Ecuador, through the Panama Canal to Venezuela, Dominican Republic, then a finale when the fleet reaches Veracruz in Mexico, 5 months of sailing and some of the most spectacular coast lines and historic sailing ports. (see http://www.velasudamerica2010.com)
Xplore will rendezvous with this currently confirmed fleet of 12 Grand "Ladies" of sail when they arrive at Staten Island off the coast of Tierra del Fuego, where we will commence the first 2 week period of sailing in company as an official support / photographic vessel to the fleet.
From Staten Island we will sail the eastern stretches of the Beagle Channel into Ushuaia, a brief port stop, then we will head for Cape Horn, a place that for all sailors around the globe, it is the Mecca that symbolizes achievement in sailing. (please see the included Cape Horn extract below)
After "Doubling the Horn" we head to the central and western reaches of the Beagle Channel and make sail with the fleet up the Straits of Magellan to the Chilean southern most city of Punta Arenas (Sandy Point) where we will end this first leg.
To sail in company will be amazing, to see this all in Tierra del Fuego is a once in a life time experience, interest is starting to mount as word gets around that this may be the last time to ever see a sailing Armada afloat in this part of the world.
Xplore has posted their entries with Argentina and Chile and has been officially accepted at sea and in port. We hope with strong interest, that we will continue to follow in company of the fleet the complete length of the west coast of South America and possibly through the Panama Canal to finish the regatta.
We ask that anyone that you know who maybe interested in joining Xplore for this experience to contact us, as group and longer passage discounts are possible.
So "ahhhhh me hearties, swab those decks and you'll get a bottle a rum"
Come sailing with us onboard Xplore and see those grand ladies under sail like you never will again.