Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Every mile can be torture

Every mile can be torture
Sailing around Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn puts every boat and sailor at their limits. Being used it the area since my first rounding of the "Horn" in 2000 just hopefully makes me a smarter and safer sailor, I can't remember how many times I have sailed around it, but I know it's a lot.
Our first season project to take famous French sailor Franck Cammas down to Cape Horn because his dream was to sail a hydrofoil catamaran through this notorious waters, he had a sponsor, Julbo and they created a competition to find a lucky novice to sail it with Franck, Johannes a nice German guy.
The planning commenced, and the weeks and months rolled by, and finally the team and the boats came south.
What may seem like a simple route and logistics, is actually quite a political nightmare, people and equipment arriving in different countries on different times, having come from different places just screws the wheels of motion up. Having a catamaran that is foreign and not actually registered, is a major pain to get customs clearance, and most importantly the Chileans to agree to allow to sail this  part of the world.
On an average season in the south there are normally 1 to 3 visiting boats that are lost in these waters, wreaked, sunk or torn apart, when its ferocious, it's really mean around here.
The voyage and miles to Cape Horn from where we started is approximately 125 nautical miles,  or 230 kilometres, but you need to take Xplore which is the support boat and accommodation plus a fast enough Zodiac  that can keep up with the Catamaran that is capable of 31 knots there, and back.
From Argentina to Chile and the weather windows are not looking good, small but changing so fast that is just about any persons guess as to what going to happen. We headed south and looked to the sky's and barometer for opportunities.
One morning before departure from a southern anchorage prior to the cat sailing I overheard Johannes ask Franck if they should take some warm water and a towel for their hands before they left the beach, Franck's reply was short and to the point "You have to learn to suffer" and that was the end of the conversation.
Yes Franck and Johannes did complete a full circumnavigation of the Horn and continued to sail the long haul back to Puerto Toro immediately after, that's about a 100 nautical mile day on a fast but wet and powerful catamaran, well done guys !
My team on Xplore and the film and support crews were amazing, we drank to success.

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