Approaching the Horn
Well we decided that speed was what we needed to make the safest passage round Cape Horn. We stopped our dive South due to icebergs and just put the pedal to the floor. It now appears to have been a good move and we may avoid strong head winds over the next 15 hours. We currently have two reefs in mainsail, a staysail , and our boat speed is between 23 and 33 kts depending on gusts.
Last night was radical to say the least. Absolutely freezing cold. We were rotating 1/2 hour helming, 1/2 hour warming up, 1/2 hour ICE watch, 1/2 hour warming up two times and that's the watch.
ICE watch was INSANE. for 1/2 an hour you harnessed yourself to the mast , standing on the rotator on the front of the mast, holding onto two sheet deflectors you attempt to identify growlers from breaking waves. All the time the helmsman is just trying to push out the biggest speeds he can. I remember thinking this is like some ride you would find at an extreme theme park. Sometimes we were sustaining 36kts of boat speed, the boat was just busting the seas apart. I remember thinking 'how the hell are we supposed to see anything with all this water flying about the place. Poised to blow the storm jib halyard as COVERED UP AS POSSIBLE my face was painfully cold. My feet were numbing. I began a stupid dance to the tune New York, New York (not sur why I chose this song?) to attempt to keep warm.
As the waves broke their crests cast a lighter glow on the dark sea. Your heart would skip a few beats then, before you could act or do a thing the mass was already beneath the tramp or bursting over our hulls. Twice I thought I saw large pieces of ice but it was always too late to even yell a warning. You just hang on that little bit harder and brace for a high speed collision. If this all sounds a little crazy then you are right...that experience was really memorable.
Stanby was a rolling watch at the radar. We were all happy to see dawn this morning.
Under 1300 to Cape Horn and it looks like we should maintain reasonable speed. The next 12 hours could be difficult with the breeze forward but its should shift back behind us as we get closer.
The boys are are climbing into their bunkes yelling aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh froid (cold) aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh trompe (soaking wet) in a few minutes they will be warmish and asleep.
Time for me to do the dash to the other hull for a bit of the same.