Below 40° South

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A Solo Voyage To The Dark Side of The Moon
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Progress Reports


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Progress Report #15

In any special purpose vessel, like Southern Cross, there is seldom non-essential gear. In fact, the goal is have the gear perform several tasks or jobs if possible. Then sometimes gear surprises you and is able to do a job that was not imagined it would need to do. This was the case with the winches for the “running shrouds” (see the video in the media section). Like the small Jam cleats in Progress #14, I believe Howard found the antique Merriman winches at a garage sale a number of years back. He recognized a wonderful and unique design, bought them and put them away for future use.

I first saw the winches in Austin, when Southern Cross was in my shop and we were filming the construction. I have to confess I experienced extreme winch envy and I joked several times about the possibility of someone breaking into the shop and stealing those winches.

Aside from the elegant design, what struck me was how they were perfectly suited for the “running shroud” system Howard was designing for Southern Cross. They were pleasing and traditional looking, esthetics has always been an important part of Southern Cross, and they functioned as though they had been specifically designed for that purpose.

The surprise part came early on in the voyage with kelp. Kelp posed a huge problem for Howard. In the following photo (all photos are still taken from GoPro footage) Howard is paddling through a large bed of kelp. Sailing through the kelp beds was difficult or impossible and anchoring became very challenging. He had to drag large balls of kelp up with the anchor making it virtually impossible to haul in the anchor by hand. When he could finally break the anchor free he was lifting a hundred pounds or more kelp at times.

Now the little Merriman became an anchor winch and had to experience loads it was not really designed to carry. Howard had to use the winch to retrieve the anchor, as seen in the photo below.

In the following photo, you can see Howard cleaning kelp off the anchor.

The winches became far more important and saw more use retrieving the anchor than with the “running shrouds”. In a post voyage interview Howard wondered if he would have been able to cope with the kelp issues without the Merriman winches.

These classic pieces of gear are an important part of the fabric of the voyage and like a great deal of gear have their own story to tell. We need your financial help and support to tell the story of this incredible adventure. The post production part of the film making process is the most time consuming and expensive, but together we can make this happen.

- David Nichols

Sailingbelow40south
Progress report #13

One of the joys working on a film like this is the time spent reviewing and cataloging all the footage that has been shot. Not only the 80+ hours of footage that I have shot over the last four years but the 10+ hours of footage that Howard shot on the voyage. As I sat watching scene after scene, I was struck by how many of the components of Southern Cross have a story of their own. It is interesting how a piece of equipment like the cockpit tent and the associated changes became a thread in the overall fabric of the voyage. It’s exciting to watch that thread blend together with the larger story of the voyage.

The construction process began in Austin, Texas with a local sail maker. Howard had several meetings with sail maker to discuss the design and describe what the tent would have to withstand. In addition to brutal winds and harsh weather, there were also discussions about incorporating a wood burning stove and dealing with an extremely hot stove pipe.

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Unfortunately, the effort spent on the first tent proved to be a waste and the design had to be completely scraped because the sail maker just didn’t listen. By this time Southern Cross had moved to Michigan and conversations with Matt Hohlbein at Cutwater Canvas were underway. There were attempts to salvage some of the materials and work, but in the end it was decided to just start from scratch.

The new design proved to be a success, as evident in one particular video diary entry. The tent is up and Howard is tucked in the cuddy while the wind blows and rain hits the tent. Howard points the camera out the window and we catch a glimpse of the full gale blowing outside. What I find most striking about the footage is what you don’t hear or see. You don’t hear the tent flapping or see water dripping inside the tent.

 
 

I’ve been in mountaineering tents that were anchored to the side of a mountain while it blows and the sound is almost deafening.  Yet Howard’s voice is easily understandable and all that is heard is wind and rain hitting the tent and cuddy.

There are other components and gear that have their own small story and I’ll try and touch on those as we work toward the finished film and raising the funding.

Sailingbelow40south
Progress report #12

Satellite Phone Conversations.
The attached recording was made on February 17th 2017 when Howard sees the Pacific for the first time.

During the voyage I had the opportunity to communicate with Howard by satellite phone. He would call at various times and give me an update about his location or what had been happening since our last conversation. Generally the calls tended to be about the wind, it seemed either to be blowing hard or not at all, and how much sleep Howard had managed to get. I was always amazed to hear Howard state in such a matter of fact way that he had managed without sleep for forty hours or so. Sleep always seemed to be hard to come by. There was other information, of course, but wind and sleep always seem to be included.

The satellite phone was on board because the Armada de Chile required that Howard have an HF (high frequency) radio. The Armada requires boats to have a SSB or HF radio on board but Howard decided this wasn’t practical on a boat as small as Southern Cross. The satellite phone provided the same coverage without the huge antenna and batteries. It turned out to be a useful addition to the voyage.

I recorded about thirty or so calls from Howard and those recordings are safely stored with all the film he shot and has just turned over to us. It was obvious early in the voyage that those calls were a window into what was happening as much as the film he was shooting. The satellite phone also served the added purpose of allowing Howard to talk with the elementary schools he was working with. I know the interaction he was having with them was incredibly important to him and an amazing learning opportunity for the many kids following his voyage through live tracking and the sat phone calls.

Howard told those of us working on the film that the purpose of his voyage was always a question put to him by others as voyaging solo seemed to need or require some lofty purpose to make it legitimate to some as ridiculous as that sounds to me as I write this. I believe it was the “small” in small boat that had some scratching their heads wondering why he would do such a thing. Small to some equated with stunt, fool hardly, ridiculous but if they had taken a moment to consider his strategy then “small” would make sense. His voyage was meticulously planned and executed and the small boat never failed to deliver.

I can attest that his intentions were always clear to him, very personal and never once about self promotion or the need to be recognized. Howard was always uncomfortable with being filmed and asked that John and I tell his story honestly and without any hype or hint of reality TV. He simply wanted to share the story and to this end has no stake in the film and no control over its tone or content. The images he shot have been turned over to us unedited and for this we are grateful because what a story they tell.

Howard did tell us he at times felt self conscious about the voyage as it might seem selfish, self serving or some sort of look at me affair if filmed. In reality his motives were as pure and simple as can be, which is why the story is so compelling to tell. He sailed to explore a true wilderness and as a challenge ad test of his skills and life experiences. I know as fact he felt great purpose and found incredible joy in working with the hundreds of school kids as he prepared to set sail and as he voyaged. The phone calls to classrooms became genuine events for him as he knew he was being tracked by excited young minds. He felt he had a means to infuse possibilities and hope in so many young lives. This desire has since manifested itself into a huge and wonderful project that has caught the imagination of me and many others.

Planning is and has been underway for the continuing “Voyage of Southern Cross” an educational circumnavigation of the world by a tiny ship (Southern Cross) and her best friend Howard. This incredible extension of the voyage Howard has just completed down the Strait of Magellan and into the forbidding Southwest Islands is such a natural for a man of his tenor. I am all in to be a part of this great project that will be free to thousands off schools around the world touching, impacting and connecting children from many nations. I admire Howard’s pure heart and passion to do good in the world. We should all support this noble endeavor and the if us producing Below 40 South are in full support!

Look for updates on the Voyage of Southern Cross project, the soon to be published web site and the roll out of the program, which is the perfect fit for our film Below 40 South. Below 40 South is destined with your help to be the public record of the first leg of this incredible never before attempted circumnavigation of the world by an 11’ 11” sail and oar boat. Southern Cross is destined to go over the horizon in a dedicated container next October bound for New Zealand, then Japan, Tibet, India, Egypt, Greece, Spain, France, Norway, Scotland, England and back to the United States over three years. The best part of all is the program is free to schools, teachers and students.

Back to Howard’s voyage.

The calls he made to the schools during his time preparing in Punta Arenas and while he sailed and explored were as mentioned very important to Howard. In the recording attached to this progress report he mentions that he’s about to call the schools. I know those conversations were a high point for Howard and since we were filming in the classrooms I know the kids were filled with excitement and excitement can translate into engagement in learning. Howard looked forward and enjoyed the calls as much as the children.

For me, the calls are a small but important addition that increases the color and character of the film. I have always been pleased that the satellite phone was there, that I recorded those conversations and that teachers recorded the interactions as they happened.

Please continue to come back here and be sure to visit Howard’s blog “The Voyage of Southern Cross” and make a note that he in his quiet way has decided to hold his incredible story back and will be presenting it publicly for the first time at the coming Northwest Woodenboat Festival in Port Townsend Washington. Howard will be the featured speaker at this years festival, Southern Cross will be arriving direct from Chile just prior to the show. She will be on display for all to see, touch and even board just as she came out of the Southern Ocean and that desolate place at Isla Georgaiana.

Make plans to visit the show (September 8th-10th) and be sure to get a chair early in the main room where Howard will for the first time tell his story complete with images and select film footage. He is being joined by members of the Voyage of Southern Cross team and will be presenting a second time on the circumnavigation voyage for education aboard Southern Cross. His written story will appear in parts beginning in the fall issue of Small Craft Advisor magazine.

John Welsford and I would like to go on record here thanking Howard for his efforts in filming and for his willingness to share what by any measure is an epic small boat story of courage, determination and unbending will to survive against incredible odds. We are glad to have him back and very happy to be involved in supporting his greater vision of using his little ship to circumnavigate as an instrument of inspiration and education. Good On Ya Howard!

 

John Welsford and Dave Nichols

Sailingbelow40south
Progress Report #11

The attached video shows Howard and Southern Cross during sea trials before leaving for Chile. It was during this particular sea trail that he worked to determine the location for the jib leads. Howard flew in from Chile direct to Austin Texas with the footage he shot on the voyage. I have to admit that on meeting him I noted that he was a little beaten up by his experiences and has been slowly recovering. We are very glad to have him around because it was just weeks ago that he faced down dying in the cold southern ocean. He has been here delivering the footage he shot, recovering and in a quiet humble way beginning to tell his story.

Howard has fulfilled his commitment to shoot film for us and turn it over for post production and we thank him for the mighty effort he made on behalf of the film project. He did this for no financial gain believing such a story was worth telling as a piece for the public record with the hope that if a film could be produced then it might inspire or inform even a few people. Good for him and good for all of us to have the opposite of faux adventure or reality TV footage to work with.

Now Howard’s role is almost complete. He has been very gracious with his time and we have recorded footage of Howard sitting down to tell his story from conception of the idea to build and voyage a small boat to the conclusion of his voyage. This has been amazing to record for use in the final production. The detail of his time aboard is astounding, the detail of his incident at that lonely remote island in the Southern Ocean where he was blown off his boat and was forced to dig deep against the odds to save his life is gut wrenching. What a story we have to tell and Howard has agreed to let us tell it unvarnished and real.

What he filmed is real, honest, personal and beautiful. In short what he captured with the camera is fantastic and reflects this amazing adventure. Among other insights, his video diary details what it was like to endure days of Williwaws and the struggles he had sailing through the most treacherous waters on earth.  More importantly, it captures the human relationships that he and Southern Cross made during the voyage before and after he set sail solo. This was in many ways a magical journey and the footage reflects that magic. The personal connections that were made when obstacles had to be overcome were more than serendipitous, they are simply hard to explain. As a film maker I was in Chile for three weeks last December and can attest to the magic moments the little ship and Howard seemed to create or attract and these continue to this day. Howard’s footage captures many of these hard to grasp magic moments.

It took a large number of individuals contributing to the film Below 40 South during the first phase offinancial developmentso Southern Crosscould be outfitted with the appropriate camera equipment and to get the film crew to Chile and back. With that phase successfully completed we turn our attention to the Post Production phase of the project.

This stage of the production involves a number of people working together on the script, music score, and sound, to mention just a few of the Post Production jobs. Each of these individuals makes an important contribution to the film and is critical to the completion of the project. Post Production is always a group effort and by working together this adventure can be told with all the richness and detail it deserves.

The film needs funding for Post Production and those who make financial contributions are ascritical to the completion of this phase of the project as the script or musical score.  Without funds for Post Production this project cannot move forward. If you would like to be part of this remarkable film please visit our donor page. If you can make a small donation great. However we know many people cannot but may be of greater assistance because of who you know. So please feel free to contact us to talk. This is a story that must be told and not for profit but because in this day and age of jaded attitudes we have an uncut gem that can be an inspiration to others. It is one heck of a story.

I will continue to update this site as we make progress forward. Our film studio is not a big operation instead we are simply an indie or independent studio that relies on investors and donors to make productions happen. In my forty odd years of film making I have never had such footage as I have now. We have an astounding story to tell that goes far beyond small boats. It is a story of humanity, passion, love, danger, extreme adversity and sheer human will to overcome the impossible. We need your help or the help of people you might know to bring this story to the screen.

Thank you, Dave Nichols and John Welsford

Sailingbelow40south
Progress Report #10

Denny and I had a long telephone conversation with Howard three days ago. He’s in much better spirits now that he has been able to rest, recover some and that the amazing rescue of Southern Cross is behind him. His voyage is far from over as now he has the logistical challenge of getting the boat from Puerto Williams to Punta Arenas, back tracking his course.

What a story the boat rescue is! I know the facts and the facts of Howards voyage, battle with the deadly and extremely rare “Tromba cyclones” that capsized his boat and finally blew him off it. I am very much looking forward to his words should he feel that would like to recount his experiences publicly. Right now he is just glad to have survived what the Armada says on film was an “impossible survival.” Their patrol boat was nearby fighting the same Tromba cyclones.

Howard had a lot invested in that boat. Five years of planning, building, thinking, testing, trials, provisioning and shipping. She is the culmination of many years of ambition, hard work and drive. Its no exaggeration to say that his soul is a part of that little boat. I met Southern Cross in Punta Arenas and became as much a part of her as Howard. He did a magnificent job building her to yacht finish and in my estimation her loss would have been very difficult for him in spite of his stating, “Things don’t matter, I am alive. I am reluctant to say much because I put myself here willingly and am so sorry if I have caused anyone else a moment of anxiety. I have never been one to like drama or sea stories. I am truly sorry for any concern caused. I came for a personal experience and yet it by circumstance had to be (for the first time for me) a public experience as I tried to help the film effort being done by John and Dave. I was never for one moment motivated to sail or make a foolish move for the sake of the film. I sailed at my pace and safely. I feel akin to what my friend Josh said was like the well prepared mountain climber who gets hit by an avalanche, it happens.”

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Please note: We are in New Zealand and Howard in the southern most settlement on earth, Pt Williams Chile and telephone talk is spotty at best. I believe I got the facts straight. Below is a skeleton account of an incredible story of survival. Howard has since been hosted by the Armada de Chile and was part of a videotaped reunion during which the Captain of the patrol boat and one of the rescuers talked about the impossibility that he survived the hour and thirty minutes in the water and the night in the open in horrendous conditions. In the filmed reunion they recounted how afraid they were that they could not get to him in time due to the extreme weather at Georgiana and their amazement at his self management, survival kit and skills. His story has already inspired many Chileans as it made national news because of the length of time he was in the water and on land in the open. The Armada has thrown doors open to him and Howard has talked at length with them about his dry suit and layering method. There is a filmed presentation he was asked to make by the Amada in which in a touching moment he hears a former Armada officer recount that his previous rounding of Cape Horn is still a legend in Pt Williams and in the Armada.

Howard who has always told me there wasn’t much of a story to film in his voyage finally has a sea story and an amazing one, much of which is captured on film. All I could say to him and others is “Wow.” We hope he comes out of hiding in Puerto Williams on the south shore of the Beagle Channel where he is recuperating to tell his story as we hope the film will eventually do. Amazingly he actually wanted to continue sailing south to Cape Horn and back but cannot given his physical issues plus he was forced to cut anchors free when rescuing his boat and in addition some key gear was lost to the sea. His friend Dr. Richard Paulsen perhaps best summed up Howard as “indefatigable”, I’d have to agree.

His story is inspirational, amazing, chilling and multi faceted including an astounding act of will that culminated in a race to save his boat. The boat rescue is a story in itself complete with a competing salvage attempt by another boat that had a one-day jump on the aged fishing boat the El DeCano with John, Patricio and Howard aboard. They raced a narrow weather window, skeptics and a well equipped modern steel hull fishing boat fully capable of plucking Southern Cross from the water even if on the bottom or stripping her clean. The El DeCano with the Cano brothers and Howard standing shifts with Howard navigating rescued Southern Cross by clever moves and will. We’ll never know if the other boat got there first and realized they could not claim salvage or just couldn’t find Southern Cross.

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I know there are many hundreds of sailors interested in Howard’s story and I am sure once he recuperates, collects his thoughts that he will tell us through his words and film the details. I do not speak for him but know friends are waiting so here is a very partial synopsis.

The story goes as follows.

Howard first successfully sailed the Strait of Magellan from Punta Arenas passing Cape Froward (known by the Armada and locals as fiercer than Cape Horn because it is). I consider this a feat in itself for any sailor. He then crossed the Strait of Magellan to Isla Dawson exploring the island as he went and amazingly into the Magdalena Channel. He explored south in very challenging sailing conditions few of us could imagine and made his way into the Cockburn Channel on into the Brecknock Channel and finally the western end of the Beagle Channel. A first for a boat of the size he sailed according to the Armada de Chile. During this passage he made his way out into the wilds of the Pacific coast where he had been been trapped for days of really bad weather and hundreds of williwaw winds. He managed the williwaws successfully as any well found yacht would, employing multiple anchors and lines tied off on land. This is the manner in which vessels transiting these waters must move and wait out the volatile conditions. Howard planned well for this as he had been in the region before. He only moved when an opportunity presented itself. His nightmare became the kelp beds, which clogged anchorages that used to be open. I was fully informed of Howard’s anchorage options and had detailed course information on charts. Kelp out growth had increased by between 40 and 60 % since he had last been there. After one month of voyaging he reckoned he had been on land for less than three hours and was happy to be living aboard, very happy as he had established a daily routine. He

had several very difficult times at anchor given the weather and williwaws but was never less than determined to keep exploring. He fully expected such weather before setting sail. Everything worked as he planned and the boat performed according to his words, “perfectly.” He was well fed, warm, and sometimes even dry. His tent worked so well that all of his nights were dry in spite of a wet cockpit. Later I hope he chooses to describe the sailing challenges as his skill was tested to the limit at times.

After a very challenging Westing and turn to the south at Isla Acguire he had a rare opportunity to make miles and he made the most of it. He attempted to sail through the channel between Isla Clementina and Georgiana knowing Georgiana was an extremely dangerous island due to the topographic configuration and proximity to open ocean. He was not going to anchor anywhere on Georgiana and had successfully avoided places like it. Local fishermen avoid it and many do not know where it is including the fishermen (John and Patricio who teamed up with Howard to rescue Southern Cross) as the place is simply too dangerous for safe travel or anchorage. The channel did not pan out yet the day was one of the best of the voyage as he sailed into a fjord few if any boats ever visit. “The film I shot was amazing as it was a magical place” he said.

One year ago I joined Howard at the Chilean military mapping office in Santiago as he selected topographic maps to augment his nautical charts. These topo maps were a key part of his voyaging strategy allowing him to analyze topographic features and select anchorages, which were less dangerous. I was very impressed by Howard’s meticulous charting and his selecting topo maps. He used no electronic navigation assists including GPS, all of his navigation was calculated and pencil on charts.

His selected anchorage on Clementina didn't pan out due to thick kelp and in the open Southern Ocean he pressed on in waning daylight and gusty 22 knot winds to find an anchorage. He had to navigate through treacherous rocks, breaking Southern Ocean surf and kelp fields. He managed to find and get into a very small Bahia on Isla Clementina. In this case a rope was across an inlet to which fishing boats tie up for severe weather refuge. Howard reached this at 11pm and tied off with two stout lines off the bow as he knew he was in for a fight given changing conditions.

By 4am he was in the teeth of 60 knot williwaws out of the north, these turned west and back north, back and forth sometimes hurtling down the mountains simultaneously. Secured to this line in very rough conditions, he had winds so severe that Southern Cross was at times violently swung around and rolled from gunwale to gunwale (he filmed this). He had deployed a stern anchor but cut it lose on a float so as not to capsize given the directional changes of the williwaws. He endured this for two days and two nights, each night with virtually no sleep. He laid awake in his dry suit with an open knife on his chest, ditch bag ready and head lamp on the ready to cut his way out of the tent if Southern Cross capsized. If the boat had been rolled over with the tent up he’d have been trapped, making it very difficult to get out.

He made a desperate move off the fishermans line at 7:15am on the 3rd day. He had a scant 20 yards to row and his starboard oar was caught by kelp and that was that, he was blown out of the Bahia on Clementina toward Georgiana. He fought all day until he was finally pinned deep in the large bay on Isla Georgiana close to 2 miles away where he made a last ditch stand with his main anchor. During the day of frigid rain and high winds coupled with fighting he cut his right hand and this made for a painful day on top of all the dangers he fought through.

Trombas began to form at 5pm as a result of topography and the shifting northern williwaws. They came from all compass points randomly and continuously. Howard said, “I’ve never been bombed but now can imagine how random it is and how helpless those in the target area must feel. I was mesmerized by the scene, it was hard to believe. In all my time on the water I have never thought there could be such a situation.” I feel I have knowledge to offer the sailing community about this rare day and about my overall experience here, maybe someday.”

Finally, he was hit by a Tromba from port and capsized at approximately 5:30pm. The large bay where he finally anchored was a hell hole for any sailor, lee shore, an ominous whale skeleton on the shore but with a kelp/grass sandy bottom, good holding ground, but the winds there were extreme out of the north at 60 to 72 knots!

I hope he will decide to later recount what he went through on this day as the story is hard to hear as it was a fight for his life in my estimation. He seems reluctant to recount the details but as I said I hope he does. He simply says “It was a very bad day and I am alive and thinking.”

There is a weather phenomena, very rare but known of by the Armada and fishermen  who sail in this area, which creates winds so strong that they have been known to sink or crush heavy carvel built fishing boats (words of Juan Matisse). These are known as “Tromba” winds, which are in essence, swarms of very intense small tornadoes (perhaps 100 to 150 feet across and about as high) that last 10 to 30 seconds. This is what Howard was experiencing and they were all around and coming from every direction. He turned on a camera and filmed until survival became the only move left.

We later found out that a Navy Patrol boat on its normal route between Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams, had been ordered to shelter by the Armada and was hiding behind Isla Basket approximately ten miles away. They recorded sustained winds of 72 knots. The Captain of the patrol boat Sibbald on film has stated the winds Howard faced were 66 to 72 knots with winds in the 90 to 100 knot range in the Tromba’s. In“Tromba” wind conditions, bursts of double the base wind can be expected.

Georgiana is a Tromba generator given topography and the small island off the bay where Howard made his last ditch stand. The “Tromba” were striking all around and coupled with intense williwaws this made for a condition few boats could survive regardless of size. Southern Cross was repeatedly hit by williwaws from all directions and successfully weathered each. Finally a direct hit by a Tromba ended the day and made for the nightmare in the water and 13 hours on land in the open.

Howard recounted the formation of the first close by Tromba and the sound it made as it raced past just missing him. “It was an incredible high pitched screaming sound, hard to imagine.” They were all around according to both Howard and the Armada Captain. Southern Cross was hit and rolled to turtle in perhaps less than 2 seconds. Howard was trapped underneath. He had to take his lifejacket off so he could get out, he swam out from under, put his lifejacket on again, crawled on to the bottom of the boat, righted her and re-boarded. He had practiced this maneuver in training and he and I have trained many sailors to do the same. He was forced to make this maneuver three times as she was capsized again twice by williwaws. Each time he successfully righted Southern Cross utilizing the re-entry slings he designed as righting lines yet he knew there was really no point in doing so given the williwaws and Trombas all around.

On the third righting he was hit just as he was attempting to re-enter and literally picked up and blown off the boat by a Tromba that came from directly ahead. He landed in the water some distance away, his Delorme was torn from around his neck and he did not have his ditch bag. He was able to reach his Delorme beacon, his ditch bag and a buoyant seat cushion as he was blown south and east with no ability to get back to boat.

Although approximately 100 yards to shore, it took him an hour and a half battling the winds to swim to a tiny place where it was possible to get out of the water. His description of the back and forth battle is bone chilling, hard to hear as he swam with legs only and was blown in and out and in and out. He came ashore unable to use hands or legs onto a boulder beach where he sustained injuries. He had no feeling in his legs, hands or lower arms and was shivering violently. He had swallowed much water as the williwaws and Trombas blew it into his mouth and nose and was wracked with nausea. He had foot, hand and shoulder injuries from the landing and crawl.

Howard told me that no Armada personnel were ever put in danger as the Captain determined that a night rescue was too dangerous for his team. The captain explains the situation in a filmed reunion aboard the Sibbald stating they could not sleep as they circled in extreme conditions waiting fearing he could not survive the night. It was a emotional reunion for the Captain, crew and Howard. The Armada has been treating him with the greatest respect as he described almost embarrassingly. No one survives here in the water so long. The Armada has now twice inspected his dry suit and layering technique and on film has stated they want a copy of the video shot to create a notice to mariners suggesting the adoption a similar set up. Foul weather gear is not enough. Fishermen and sailors have perished here quickly as they are being brought back aboard.

It took Howard a few days to recover enough to consider “what next,” but Wednesday 1st March he made the decision to try and rescue Southern Cross in spite of his physical condition and advice of the doctors who treated him. She’d been afloat on her side and secure at anchor when the Armada de Chile took him off the island. Secure at anchor, filled with stores in watertight plastic containers which would float, there was a very good chance that she would still be there. The days that followed as Howard was in Punta Arenas buying a tooth brush, shoes, etc. were extremely bad from a weather perspective. I can only imagine how my friend felt, a friend who has never lost a boat, called for help or even come close.

Howard Rice is a modest man, self contained and independent, and feels humbled by how so many have given him so much. He told me when he was blown off the boat that this thought went through his mind, “So this is how I died, this is how it ended, I had always wondered. I felt peaceful, never in fear, just peaceful. After the initial shock given my seemingly hopeless situation I decided to live for there are many who care about me.”

It was the thoughts of losing his wife, his family and his many friends that kept him going in the most difficult of times in the water and the longest of nights in the open on land in deadly conditions. “John, I am here being quiet and thinking. After my experience e on Georgiana I see the world with new eyes. Puerto Williams is a place I know from years ago and feels like where I should be for now. The Beagle Channel is stunning, the tiny town friendly and so I think and recover. I have logistical hurdles yet to face getting my boat on board a cargo ship for the voyage west and north.”

“Soon I intend to express deepest gratitude and heart felt thanks to all those who have helped me and sent their best wishes. I hope to make something positive for others out of this, a most challenging, fulfilling journey. I would do it again in a heart beat and am so happy hundreds of elementary school kids have benefitted by my and Johns classroom lessons and the classroom satellite phone calls as I sailed.”

From him, through Denny and I, thank you, thank you so much, all of you.

John Welsford, Proud and relieved.

Addendum to progress report #10

The Cano brothers, John and Patricio, are sailors, mountain guides, have been to Antarctica twice, and own the fishing boat, El Decano. Their excellent website, www.extremewilliams.com , explains the many adventure options they offer.

It was their friendship, assistance, and courage that was crucial in the recovery of Southern Cross and I would like to say Muchas Gracias mi Amigos for all you did and are doing.

David Nichols

Sailingbelow40south