FROM 1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 13, 2005 - 2000hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2000hrs 13 Mar 2005 UTC 53’49”S 061’12”W Map Ref 121 Errata & corrigenda -I don’t remember the legal term but it’s to do with descriptive words or lists in statutes – if a statute includes a set of words or a list to describe something, anything not so described or included in the list is considered to be excluded. So I made a list of acknowledgements in my last update and left out Roger and the crew in the Sailing Office at CYC. Dreadful mistake by the parliamentary draftsperson and much mea culpa-ing. Sorry everyone and truly chuffing to know that you’re watching and you should’a been listed. I’ll stop making lists – too easy to get it wrong.

I’ve just had a troll through the medium waveband on the radio and picked up the BBC World Service which could only be coming from the Falklands, now 186 miles away. There was another program as well, possibly the British Forces Broadcasting Service. Perhaps this is the modern equivalent of the early sailors’ sensing land by noting the behaviour of seabirds and subtle changes in swell and cloud patterns and, of course seaweed and other flotsam. Exciting to be this close.

Whichever of the weather gods have their hands on the mixing levers seem not to want to let us get there the easy way though. We’re back down to the #5, no main, in a really lumpy sea and 30-40 knots with about a knot and a half of adverse current. No problem except for the waves but there’s no sense in crashing on just to get in a few hours early. Racing we ain’t. But I think it might all be easing and I might venture out and think about putting the main back up with the 2 reefs that are already in it. Later – woke Pete up and we put the third reef in and put it back up, More stable and riding the slop quite well and 7 knots in the right direction instead of 3. Important for 2 reasons – we get some battery charge from the coarse turbine at 7, and it gets us along the track to a hot shower. Perhaps 36 hours to go.

Later: Moderate quantity of egg on face of RYA Instructor. With only two people on board, it’s difficult to keep a permanent watch on deck, but the drill is that whoever is on watch sticks his head up every 20 minutes or so had have a squiz around the horizon and we keep the VHF on channel 16 (for the nautically challenged, 16 is for distress calls and for making initial contact with other stations before moving to another channel). It’s a wet, rough and windy night and not at all pleasant out there so the tendency is to limit visits to the cockpit, but I stuck my head up half an hour ago, got drenched and saw another vessel’s lights about a mile away heading towards us. Ducked back in and discovered that I had forgotten to turn the VHF back on after pulling in the Chilean wxfax on the HF an hour earlier. First splash of egg. Called up vessel at xx S xx w and received instant answer from the Falklands Island Fisheries Protection Vessel Sigma, who had been trying to call us to establish our identity. Second splash of egg. Apart from Malcolm and Hamish in Sarau, the wonderful people on the Patagonian Cruise Net and the Chilean Navy at Cape Horn, they are the first people we have spoken to on the radio since leaving Dunedin. Amongst other things, they told us the isobars are getting closer together, so the weather is not likely to improve before we arrive, but at least there should be plenty of wind to get us there. Nice to talk to you, Sigma, in case you get to read this, and thanks for your help.

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