Global yachtsman Adrian Flanagan inches his way up the Chilean coast 13/3/06

Adrian Flanagan on his solo westabout global record attempt is now over four and a half months into his voyage. Flanagan set sail from Falmouth on 28 October aboard Barrabas, an 11m stainless steel sloop and on 20 February rounded Cape Horn.

Although Flanagan’s voyage to the Horn was possibly one of the slowest on record, he’s still in one piece and is now making his way slowly (100 miles a day/averaging 4kts) up the Chilean coast.

Fortunately Barrabas emerged relatively unscathed from her rounding of the Horn but Flanagan still had several jobs that needed dealing with. An electrical fire caused by flooding resulted in the yacht’s first-line computer, navigation and communications system and heating system shorting out, was first job on the list. Also the heads blocked and spilt raw sewage back into the bilges and with the pumps out of action, contaminated bilge water sloshed over the cabin sole. This had to be mopped up by hand.

The mainsail halyard shackle also failed, the halyard itself running through the mast and only stopped at the top by the knot in its end. A temporary halyard was rigged using a block and line from one of the mast steps half way up, high enough to fly the storm-reefed mainsail.

Now four months and 13 days into the voyage as he passes the Juan Fernandez archipelago Flanagan is making the most of lighter conditions and using the time to enjoy the wildlife. Commenting from the yacht Flanagan said: “Two nights ago, we had a visitor – a whale came alongside then dived under the boat and was nudging the keel, causing the boat to heel over. I don’t believe it was aggressive behaviour and nice to think Barrabas had a new friend. I was more concerned that the whale might damage the self-steering rudder.

“Today I got my reward after six weeks of grey, cold weather – probably the best sailing day I have had so far! The Pacific Ocean is very different in character from the Atlantic – a longer smoother swell, more expansive somehow and fresher. We had a warm 12 knot breeze coming over the port quarter, blue skies studded with high cloud, sparkling indigo water. Barrabas was reaching at 6 knots, but hardly heeling. I took the opportunity of drying out some damp clothing and taking the galley sink drainage system apart to clean. It was choked with black, foul smelling grunge. I also took time on deck, shoeless, wearing shorts and a T-shirt. This was a day to savour – the serenity, the space, the sing-song of the sea.”