Sorry for the late blog! Lara
Yesterday morning tactics of staying west of the direct course paid off big time. As we closed within 100 miles of the horn the winds strengthened to 40 knots from the west and we thanked our lucky stars that we were able to approach the horn on a board reach. Between the hours of 8 in the morning and 12 midday Clare, Kirsty, Torsten and Gemma achieved the elusive 40 mile watch (which involves keeping a consistent speed of 10 knots or above for over four hours). I’m not going to say that we were not a little scared at times but the boat stood up to the conditions well and the waves were still below three meters as the wind had only just picked up. Elinca shot between the Cape Horn Islands with a triple reefed main and a storm staysail and the crew breathed a sigh of relief. The sea flattened out and the lunch cooks immediately began on the soup and cheese scones. Sea sickness across the Drake was minimal on this return journey and we sailed from the Melchior Islands to Puerto Toro in just over three days.
We’ve now got six days to relax in Chile/Argentina before a partial crew change and the beginning of the next leg. Elinca is currently tied up in Puerto Toro. Last night the wind howled and we were glad not to be out at sea. This morning however we awoke to sunshine and the sound of a fishing boat engine just outside. Jumping up Clare, James and Richard found themselves exchanging a bottle of Jonny Walker Red Label for six King Crabs and four large fish. After watching the crabs squirming and writhing in the plastic bucket we picked up the courage to ask the fisherman how we kill them. He smiled and went back to his boat for his gloves then very quickly and neatly ripped them into pieces before our eyes leaving the legs in the bucked and throwing the bodies over the side. Both parties satisfied the fishing boat went on its way. The sun shone all morning and we were joined by three dogs from the Puerto Toro hamlet. We wandered with them around the shore until we realised that they knew the area much better than us and we began to follow them. The dogs lead us round the bay to a little headland where paths lead through the woods to an area of wooden benches and tables and an abandoned BBQ. The woods also contained corrugated iron shelters with sandbag walls around (presumably for defending Puerto Toro from potential invasion). It’s easy to forget that Chile have been on the point of war across the Beagle Channel a couple of times in the last 50 years. Our plan was to leave at lunchtime but it was such a nice day and so we took lunch up to the headland to eat on the grass (grass being a bit of a novelty) and Sarah, Cliggy, Katrin and Gemma went swimming… again. It didn’t look that tempting to the rest of us and there was a fierce looking seal in the kelp nearby. Then the crew were invited to play football with the locals and that’s where i’m going now after writing this blog.
In other news: there were 7 correct answers to ‘how many songs in Nicks blog’ there were 7 song titles in there!
We’re off later this afternoon up to the Micalvi Yacht Club in Puerto Williams for showers, pisco sours and a catch up with all the other boats that set off across the Drake around the same time as us. Of the three we know that set off on the 21st we think we were the first in so we hope that the others didn’t get caught out in last nights storm force winds. The joys of being on an ex race boat … when we choose to push her this boat doesn’t half go fast.