Adrian Flanagan on his solo westabout global record attempt prepares for Cape Horn 31/1/06

Date31 January 2006

Position44.45S 61.37W

Adrian Flanagan on his solo westabout global record attempt is nearing Cape Horn. Flanagan set off from Falmouth on 9 November aboard Barrabus, an 11m stainless steel sloop and now, nearly three months into his voyage, is finally approaching the southern tip of South America.

An e-mail from the boat this morning confirmed that typical South Atlantic conditions are beginning to set in and Flanagan is starting to plan his strategy for rounding the Horn. Here’s what he had to say:

Had a bit of a blow last night. 35 gusting to 45 knots and I was right in among a fleet of trawlers. I decided it was best to run before the wind, which took me east-south-east. By daybreak, with the wind in the south-west I could not make any sensible progress (too much east on starboard tack: too much north on port tack). So I messed around with the sail plan and eventually hove-to under deep-reefed main and storm jib until the wind shifted.

The hove-to is very comfortable on this boat. As for Cape Horn strategy: I figure to get headed in the north-west winds as depressions come through, hold station while the wind moves to the west, then change to port tack and make north-west while the winds are south-west as the depression goes over – then wait for the next depression and do the same thing until I get round. I may need to use the heaving-to tactic while the wind is from due west (hence my messing about with it now).

I think I would be better passing east of Ila de la Estados – according to my South American Pilot, that the strait between Ila de la Estados and Tierra del Fuego is a nightmare…