Monday, October 17, 2022

Hard fought miles

After a blustery night of wind on the beam laying over our home it was clear we couldn't spend any more time in the small indent we took refuge in the night before.
In the snow and rain we stood on deck sorting out a plan of how to extricate ourselves from the fisherman's lines safely. With gusts now to 50 it soon became a non issue and solved the problem by breaking free just as we got our lines and the dinghy on board. Once we got out of the slightly protected indent the full force of the gale was upon us. We spent a few anxious moments fighting the wind, inching past a port hand buoy but slowly our speeds increased to 3 knots in the right direction and we were on our way.
The rest of the day was spent weaving our way though protected and unprotected channels with winds and waves affecting our speed to varying degrees. Each time, just when we were about to give up and fly back to our protected anchorage from a few nights ago things would ease slightly and we'd regain our speed of 3-3.5 knots. By now, 25 knots of wind seemed down right calm.
We fought our way towards a corner which should have meant calmer seas and wind and the chance to take a breather. We hoped to assess where we'd be spending the night as it seemed clear we would not make our planned anchorage before darkness. We rounded the bend and were faced with the strongest winds yet. Not surprising Southern Patagonia was not ready to let us go. Our speed down to 1.5 knots a new problem was starting to develop. Our main tank was running low and transferring fuel required shutting down the engine. We slowly motor sailed the 4 NM channel and after 3 hours of bashing and banging discovered the anchorage where we might be able to take a pause had breaking waves over the entrance. It was now starting to look like we were between a rock, a hard place and another rock and a hard place. There were no good options to end our misery.
We decided we would tough out one more Nautical mile to round the next corner which would spit us out into a much more open channel. I expected it to get worse once we rounded but this would make our decision easy. We'd either be able to make a significant speed increase forwards or we'd fly the 40NM back to our protected anchorage. All other options would fade away.
An hour later we finally rounded the corner and miracle of miracles we were able to sail under staysail alone in reasonably comfortable seas. We shut down the engine, transferred fuel and sped to Caleta Brecknock arriving just before dusk.
Caleta Brecknock is by far my favorite anchorage in Chile, possibly any where. Feel free to google Brecknock for images of this spectacular place. The nook with an anchor and 4 easy to set shorelines secures the boat in any weather. Wind and gusts no matter how strong pass harmlessly over the rigging above. After two days of tense sailing and sleepless nights we could finally relax and let our guard down, if only for a moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment