FROM 1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 12, 2005 – 1825hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1825hrs 12 Mar 2005 UTC 55’08”S 063’39”W Map Ref 118

We’re hard on the wind – unusual and probably for the first time since the Hobart race. Gentle, easy sailing. We’d forgotten what if feels like and the sun is out as well, so everything drying out. Staten Island along the horizon to the north east, with some big hills – all cloud covered. The tropics start here! But the wind is dropping so all previous estimates are off…

Some stats to the Horn. We left Hobart on Jan 10, passed the Horn on March 11 so 60 days elapsed. Dunedin was a 9 day diversion so say 51 days sailing and 44 since Dunedin. The GPS trip log read 5357nm from Dunedin and with a bit of guesstimation 6707 from Sydney. These numbers are only ballpark, as we had all systems off for a time and other little crashes along the way. The instrument log, measuring through the water distance, read 7611nm from Sydney. Same caveat applies, but we certainly did not sail the straightest course.

Possible average of three sail changes per day. About 50 ltrs diesel used including long motor out of Dunedin. We made enough desalinated water to keep us going for about half our needs. After we replumb the intake so that it works in all conditions,we should be able to exist just on dsesalinated as long as we have adequate power. The Ampair generator is working but at reduced output, and the solar panel gives us about 4 amps in full sunlight.

I have – I hope – saved all the track data from the Software on Board application so we should be able to recreate some of the good, the bad and the ugly bits on a cd or paper chart. Not as many photos as we would have liked and relatively little video because the conditions most of the time were way outside the dry and cosy.

We’re rooting around in the various storage compartments to get stuff out and dry and the compartment itself dried out as much as possible. Everything was at least damp and some parts were very wet. By a superhuman devotion and rigid conformity to sock changing routine and sandal wearing and boot storage, I managed to keep my feet dry until about the beginning of the storm on the other side of the Horn, when one of my boots ended up flat on the floor and full of bilge water. The ferals had a picnic. Just getting it dried out today in the sun.

The feet themselves have survived well – no nasty bits between the toes, no blisters, but all the hard lumpy skin around the toes and balls of the feet from wearing running shoes has softened and worn off, so I’ve got some work to do there.

We’ve got about a normal sized bin full of plastic and non-bio garbage all taped up in plastic bags in the lazarette and elsewhere.

And dirty washing – I really don’t want to be around when I open that particular bag. 40 day old sox and other unmentionables have been quietly festering together in a big swelling plastic pack liner – no opportunity to do any washing since Dunedin.

And now I’m going to make some bread to get us to the end of the road – I hope. Score so far, 10 loaves, no fishes. A real treat, but it takes about 4 hours and needs lots of room which, in the difficult bits, was not always practicable.

Damage minimal except for the knockdown and some very minor fittings. We lost a complete set of spare mainsail battens from inside the boom during an early storm.

And Kevvo, our Fleming self steering unit, has functioned perfectly for the whole distance, through calms, storms and the knockdown. We will take it off in Stanley and check it out and grease and clean it. Kevin Fleming, take a bow.

Finisterre fleeces too – Tom Kay, take a bow and we’ll talk to you in the UK.

Gill OC IJ Ocean Racer wet weather gear has kept us dry and is fantastic to use – mostly. I would prefer to have fewer features that I find gimmicky and impractical in favour of some unfashionable but vitally useful velcro-closed patch pockets on the thighs.

That’s enough – bread is rising.

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