The great Antarctic expedition guru gets ready to take us into a gale at Cape Horn
Not just another day in the office. This is Yachting World Editor David Glenn doing a piece to camera on board Skip Novak’s original high latitudes expedition yacht Pelagic. We are in Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost town in the world, to do a series on heavy weather seamanship techniques.
Stage centre of the plan is Skip Novak, veteran of four round the world races. He first came down here in 1988 and has clocked up an incredible 23 Antarctic seasons since then. His first expedition yacht, the 54ft Pelagic, and his subsequent 74ft Pelagic Australis, were built to be very robust, reliable, essentially simple and self-sufficient in the most remote and unforgiving places on earth.
Over the next week, we are going to be looking at what Skip and his crews have learned about sailing, sailhandling and anchoring in extreme conditions. To do that, we have planned to do pretty much the opposite of what any wise sailor would do: bide our time and wait for the wind to blow like stink before going out towards Cape Horn to look for some rough and stormy conditions.
As it happens, it started blowing hard before we even arrived and today we’ve been unable to leave. With winds gusting over 40 knots, the port authorities in Ushuaia have shut the harbour so we are waiting for a lull in the wind in order to go out looking for a gale.
This is Skip in the saloon of Pelagic, where today he has been giving us a video tour and walkthrough of the smaller boat and her bigger sister.