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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I am just curious, how realistic is it for normal non steel hulled boats to be thinking about heading down around the southern tip of South America? I have been reading some of the yachting porn cough I mean magazines :) and it seems a popular destination. That said, from what I have seen so far it has been steel hulled monohulls. There doesn't seem to be iceberg issues so is there something preventing 'typical' fiberglass/epoxy mono/cats from going this route (physically being able to do it I mean, not 'you will get mushrooms growing' or 'its too scary' or 'thats the southern ocean and you will die' type arguments).

Thoughts, opinions?

Regards!
 

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No matter what boat you go in, it has to be very well equipped. Anchoring in tight spots, with lines run ashore and heavy ground tackle is the norm, and you need to anticipate being buffeted routinely by hurricane force williwaws. It's a very different level of sailing/cruising than what most of us are used to.

One of the reason metal boats are preferred is the abundance of uncharted rocks/boulders in the near coastal areas. But plenty of folks have made the trip in fiberglass. Joshua Slocum did it in wood. ;)
 

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IIRC, one person I know of goes down there regularly in his Gemini 105 Mc Catamaran. He has some of the most amazing photos, and Performance Cruising often uses them in their ads for the Geminis.
 

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Steel is preferred for high-latitude work because it is more forgiving if you become the first boat to chart a rock the hard way...Also, steel is perceived as buying one a bit more time if you hit something, and is more easily repaired (welders are places glassers are not) in the very few shipyards or harbours in that part of the world.

Steel boats also tend to have the size and reserve capacity to carry the sort of gear (many large anchors, warps, drogues, spools of line to "spiderweb" yourself into a tight fjord) that seems advisable, as well as the larger fuel tanks, when compared to most production fibreglass boats, that seem prudent.

I have read a number of books on cruising the area, including the affecting "My Old Man and the Sea", and while it can and is done in production f/g boats, I think you need a level of seamanship not easily obtained through coastal cruising in temperate waters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well it looks awesome. I would think you could work your way up to it fairly readily over time. Charting unchartered rocks I think would be generally unadviseable no matter what kind of boat hehe. I would think I would prefer two hulls to one in that case though but that is just me thinking (uh typing) out loud there.
 

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...I have read a number of books on cruising the area, including the affecting "My Old Man and the Sea", and while it can and is done in production f/g boats, I think you need a level of seamanship not easily obtained through coastal cruising in temperate waters.
Val,

I read and enjoyed that book too (well, I think you enjoyed it?)

Here it's worth mentioning that they did not so much "cruise the area" in their Vertue 25, as sail past in open water while rounding The Horn. I read the book so long ago that I can no longer remember distinctly whether they ducked in somewhere down there, but my vague recollection is they gave those cruising grounds a wide berth and proceeded north to more hospitable regions. They were on a timeline to complete the voyage, so made long legs between landfall. I hope my memory serves...:confused:

I think this is an important distinction. For instance, I would not hesitate to round The Horn in a properly designed fiberglass hull. But I would much prefer to go in steel or aluminum if I planned to explore and cruise Tierra del Fuego and adjacent coastal waters.

But Yellowducky was a bit vague on this distinction. Are we talking about rounding the Horn, or cruising Tierra del Fuego?
 

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These guys went to Antarctica and the Northwest Passage too. Notice the boat.

<p>
The book "Berserk" by David Mercy, is about the trip South. The skipper single-handed from the North Atlantic to Tierra del Fuego and picked up crew there for an exploration of Antarctica. Hilarious, a great read and available through (Shameless promotion here) the American Vega Association's online bookstore. Search for "Berserk"
 

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Yeah, but they're Norwegians, not mere mortals. So it doesn't count.:D
 

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I know of one local that cruised south from here over a two year span, and spent considerable time cruising the inland waterways of Chile along the way. He did manage to do a long daysail that took him around 'the horn' (which is actually on an island which they circumnavigated).

They did it on a Spencer 53, a locally built glass boat (bluewater heavy - many of you may have read the adventures of Hal Roth's original voyages on a Spencer 35). The stories they tell of anchoring in "sheltered" bays with 2 anchors and 4 or 5 shorelines are amazing. Hurricane force williwaws were commonplace, as was being trapped in one spot for some time waiting for weather to ease.

I think the success of such a voyage/cruise has far more to do with the sailor(s) than the boat per se

Edit- sorry, reread the OP and realized you didn't want comments such as above..... point being this particular glass boat was up to the task.
 

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They are not the only ones. We will be taking our boat into the Atlantic in a couple of years and my wife has just about convinced me to go around the Horn. Just one more reason I'm glad we have a Vega.
Well make sure you strap on the horns and film it, dude! And I just have to say that you must have one very cool wife if she's pressuring YOU to round the Horn. Is she smack-talkin' ya, or just encouraging?
 

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Well make sure you strap on the horns and film it, dude! And I just have to say that you must have one very cool wife if she's pressuring YOU to round the Horn. Is she smack-talkin' ya, or just encouraging?
I do indeed have a very cool wife and she is quite serious. I told her that if we do that I'm going to get the traditional gold earring in my left ear :cool:

We missed the chance to return to HM Bark Endeavour for her voyage around the horn during which footage for Master and Commander was shot because I was too close to retirement and we did not want to postpone our own cruise plans. Our honeymoon, and first Pacific crossing under sail, was in Endeavour as voyage crew in '99 sailing from Vancouver to Hawaii and on to Fiji.

Laura's sailing resume also includes delivery crew on Spike Africa's voyage from San Diego to Kauai. (I had to stay home and work) Read about that trip here pdf with photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good to hear its doable in a more 'typical' boat. Indeed, I am talking here of going into secluded bays and such. Making a run around the tip and straight back North seems to defeat a fair amount of the point. The story I was reading was in February's Yachting World and all the bays sounded like something not to be missed.
 

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I do indeed have a very cool wife and she is quite serious. I told her that if we do that I'm going to get the traditional gold earring in my left ear :cool:

We missed the chance to return to HM Bark Endeavour for her voyage around the horn during which footage for Master and Commander was shot because I was too close to retirement and we did not want to postpone our own cruise plans. Our honeymoon, and first Pacific crossing under sail, was in Endeavour as voyage crew in '99 sailing from Vancouver to Hawaii and on to Fiji.

Laura's sailing resume also includes delivery crew on Spike Africa's voyage from San Diego to Kauai. (I had to stay home and work) Read about that trip here pdf with photos.
Is that Endeavor the replica of Cook's ship? If so, I'm just finishing "Blue Latitudes" - a book about his voyages that included the author's crewing on that ship. Man that sounds like an incredible ride. Did Cook have a set of stones or what?

You're a lucky dude Vega! I'll take a look at that Spike story.
 

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Val,

I read and enjoyed that book too (well, I think you enjoyed it?)

Here it's worth mentioning that they did not so much "cruise the area" in their Vertue 25, as sail past in open water while rounding The Horn. I read the book so long ago that I can no longer remember distinctly whether they ducked in somewhere down there, but my vague recollection is they gave those cruising grounds a wide berth and proceeded north to more hospitable regions. They were on a timeline to complete the voyage, so made long legs between landfall. I hope my memory serves...:confused:
I can't remember clearly, either, except for the loss of the ship's cat.

They still had to get there, which must have involved some high-latitude pit stops, but I agree that open ocean is nominally less tricky than the Beagle Channel's little surprises. Depending on conditions, I think it's possible to round the Horn from Hermite Islands to Staten Island in 24 hours, but to go from 50 S to 50 S could take a couple of very hard and potentially dangerous weeks.
 

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They did the offshore route...
I can't remember clearly, either, except for the loss of the ship's cat.

They still had to get there, which must have involved some high-latitude pit stops, but I agree that open ocean is nominally less tricky than the Beagle Channel's little surprises. Depending on conditions, I think it's possible to round the Horn from Hermite Islands to Staten Island in 24 hours, but to go from 50 S to 50 S could take a couple of very hard and potentially dangerous weeks.
 
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