Progress Report #4
Its been a good day on the water on the Estrecho de Magellanes, Howard has made good about 35 kilometres (Nearly 25 miles) along the coast in light winds. As I write he’s heading in toward the beach a little south of a river by the name of “Rio Agua Fresca”.
The terrain here is gently rolling farmland, backed about 5 miles away by low mountains, it's not the place where you’d expect williwaws or sudden gusts generated by high peaks and deep valleys, so this is a relatively safe coastline.
Having driven back and forth along that coastal road I know that there is a small group of fishermens houses there, boats up on shore and that the shore is a smooth beach. His track shows that he’s been cruising along a couple of miles out to sea where there will be a little more breeze than inshore, and that an hour or so ago he altered course in toward the beach.
So far he’s been cruising along on one tack, it would have been upwind but easy sailing with the wind from the south east. However his course made good over the past half hour indicates that the wind has swung south a little and now he’s having to tack and is staying close inshore to make the best of it.
Note that there is a very dense belt of kelp seaweed along this shore, it’s not easy to sail through as it traps rudders and keels. It's generally a couple of hundred yards wide, and there is narrow a strip of clear water between the beach and the weed, he’s in this clear strip now.
Its about 8 pm pm there right now, I’d expect the wind to be dying away soon and he’ll be looking to anchor for the night.
There is a little fishing village not far ahead of him, there are a couple of boats moored in the mouth of a stream there and it would seem a good place for him to stop.
He’s roughly halfway from Punta Arenas to Cabo Froward now, the weather forecast is for light tailwinds tomorrow, and light headwinds off the shore for the next day. By then he should be up to his planned stop at Puerto Hambre and well ready for the jump across the Strait to the mouth of the Magdalena Channel or to carry on to the Pedro Channel.
Update. I’ve had a call from Howard on his satellite phone, he’s made it a little further down the coast and will wait for an opportune time to cross the Straits. All's well!