Happy New Years!

As I sit to write this, I'm enjoying a fresh baked cinnamon roll and a cup of coffee under partly sunny skies as we sail down wind through a majestic fjord with the awe inspiring Pio XI glacier at our stern and a dolphin on our bow. It could be a perfect dream, but every detail is true--what an incredible start to 2020!

2019 was a pretty amazing year for Zephyros and her crew. In all, we sailed over 10,300nm. We began the year with about 900nm remaining on our passage across the Atlantic Ocean. Arrival in Martinique was quite sweet as we dropped anchor just before dark and began to savor the accomplishment. We then spent almost 4 months sailing in the Caribbean Sea with friends and family. New friends were made as we often sailed with other "kid boats" and old relationships were reinvigorated as friends and family visited and sailed with us as well. We enjoyed the easy life in the Caribbean with beautiful weather, easy provisioning, great snorkeling in warm waters, fantastic inland adventures, and plenty of good restaurants and drinking holes when we wanted a break from life aboard. Magical memories include our explorations of Antigua and Barbuda, the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

In April we made the sail from the USVI to Panama, and then transited the Panama Canal. The canal transit was another surreal adventure that we had a chance to enjoy with friends aboard and tied alongside. From there, the Pacific beckoned, as did our friends who tried to sell us on joining the great run across the Pacific to New Zealand. After taking time to explore the Pacific side of Panama a little, we sailed to windward to the Galapagos where we bid farewell to the last two kid boats we had been sailing with off and on since meeting in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. The Galapagos we're certainly special and a place that Daxton had really wanted to visit. Our plan was to sail next to Easter Island, but the weather window closed and we headed to mainland Ecuador instead.

In Ecuador, we again met new friends, had the chance to enjoy a resort for weeks almost entirely to ourselves, and made our first trip into the magical Andes. A couple of long ocean passages followed as we sailed out to Easter Island and then on to mainland Chile. The Moai of Easter Island were spectacular, and we had the opportunity to spend a week with them. The anchorage was rocky, but the experiences made it totally worthwhile. When the winds began to change, we sailed for Patagonia.

I first learned that Patagonia existed when I was about Ronan's age. The early Patagonia catalogs were a gateway and inspired my dreams. I always wanted to see it for myself, and sailing here was part of the vision when we began planning to take the family off on this voyage of discovery. When we reached the Chilean mainland we proceeded through the Chacao Canal (channel), and anchored in the Gulf of Ancud south of Puerto Montt to sleep and recover from our passages. Recharged after a couple of nights, we slipped around the island that sheltered our anchorage, and saw the mountains of Northern Patagonia for the first time. It was a dream realized, and the start of a whole new adventure and style of sailing.

Northern Patagonia was easy sailing with frequent small towns scattered amongst pristine wilderness marked only by salmon pens and muscle farms. As we moved into the heart of Patagonia, we found ourselves sailing all alone through narrow canals and gaping at sublime wilderness scenery knowing that if the clouds ever opened the views of the peaks would be spectacular as were the glimpses we were allowed. We are now used to stern tying into narrow caletas each night, and have become spoiled by the absolutely still anchorages (even when the winds gust over 40 knots). Another visit from a friend brought us welcomed parts, company, and sunshine before we headed further south and really left all civilization behind as we sailed to the San Rafael Laguna to visit our first tidal glacier. The growlers, bergy bits, icebergs and calving glacier were all amazing.

We spent Christmas Eve in a remote anchorage alongside the first other cruising boats we had encountered since leaving Puerto Montt. Christmas day we visited another tidal glacier, and on New Year's Eve we visited the massive Pio XI glacier, the only growing glacier in the region, and a true behemoth of flowing ice.

Over the course of 2019, the boys really have grown. Ronan is now standing at Megan's nose. Both boys are eating more provisions than we can carry from the store. The boys still aren't doing much sail handling, and getting them started on the dishes still requires prompting, but they have begun standing night watches from inside the pilot house on passages by themselves (with a ready parent dozing in the salon). When we stern tie, Ronan calls out ranges to shore, then controls the anchor while Daxton secures the shorelines and their slings to the trees, then carefully pays out the two lines as I row us to the boat. They lift the crab trap on their own in search of treasured delicacies, and often row off to explore a beach or small isle in the anchorage. Their school work is becoming more complicated, and they spend long hours reading on their own.

Amongst all these great high points, there have also been some of life's inevitable lows. Megan's father and my Grandmother past away. We discovered new things that could go wrong on a boat, and fought the usual battles to fix things in paradise without parts. There were the occasional fights over schoolwork, cleaning the boat, and all living in the same small space.

And so, here we are at the start of 2020. We still haven't decided our sailing plan for the year. We may stay in Patagonia for another year, or sail on to the Falklands, the middle Atlantic islands, and back to France and Northern Europe. The sun is now out in full force, my jacket is off, I've gybed a few times, the wind has died, I've started the engine and taken in sails, a sea lion is frolicking to port and another dolphin dances to starboard as I gaze at the incredible 360 degree view of incredible, majestic, untouched wilderness. The adventure will continue, and we will continue to grow as sailors, ambassadors, environmentalists, people, and citizens of this amazing world. It's a story we will continue to share in our posts to svzephyros.com, Facebook and Instagram when we can. We thank you all for following along this epic journey with us! Special thanks to those who have inspired, enabled, supported, and joined us along the way. Have a great 2020!

Best wishes, Jon and crew


Sent via Iridium from the wilds of Patagonia.

Arrival in Mainland Chile!

1200Z 07OCT19, Easter Island to Puerto Montt Passage, ARRIVAL to mainland Chile 🇨🇱! Anchored off of the lighthouse awaiting tide and current for the canal.

The last 16 hours of sailing were good. We kept reefs in the sails to stay slow and time our arrival for the morning. The skies cleared and we could see the half moon, stars and then the lighthouse and some light pollution from the inland Chilean towns. The winds gradually subsided as did the seas. It was a lovely sunrise over land. We were able to sail just about all the way to the anchorage and dropped the anchor around 9am local with a rainbow to welcome us. It's beautiful here. Feels a bit like the Pacific Northwest Islands of Washington and British Columbia (with inland sailing similar to the Puget Sound), but with the cliffs of France. Looking forward to being able to see the mountains too.

2046 nautical miles
15 days, 16 hours
5.4 knots average speed over ground
63.1 hours of engine time
230 liters of fuel consumed (approximately)
220 liters of water consumed (we really want a water maker so that severe rations are not necessary!)
100 liters (approximately) of rain water caught from the skies
Numerous birds - albatrosses and petrels - sighted but no marine mammals
1 tuna (blue fin?), caught, landed and eaten
Breakages - 1 split seam on the genoa; 1 Watt & Sea propeller sheered off a blade; 1 sailbag zipper coil broken (which probably means the whole zipper has to be replaced); 1 iPad succumbed to the elements; 1 bowl broken

Overall this was a challenging passage. It required a series of decisions and actions to ensure that timing, weather and sailing capabilities were matched the best that we could with what we had. We did not have the normal luxury of waiting for a great weather window as we were starting from Easter Island, an unprotected island 2000nm from any other land where it would be better to be offshore than at anchor in bad weather. Additionally we were south of the trade winds and had to deal with weather systems (highs and lows) that continuously develop and move through. We saw some high wind systems and we had some days without wind. Certainly satellite communications, and wind and forecasting software are wonderful additions to the modern passage making toolkit and helped us to be as successful as we were. It is a passage that makes you proud for having successfully navigated and sailed well through it, and one that will seem like it was easier than it was after a few good nights' sleep.

We will pass through the canal this afternoon and then take our time traveling the last 50nm to Puerto Montt. We have been offshore passage-making for 34 of the last 42 days sailing 4352nm! We plan to anchor out a few nights and slow down to rest. If we find a nice quiet anchorage we may stay for 2 nights to catch up on sleep and to do some boat tidying. We probably won't go ashore until the marina in Puerto Montt but we will see - the dinghy is currently stowed and we would have to modify our zarpe (transit authorization). In the meantime we have food and drink, will play some board games and catch up on some sleep under our thick, fluffy, down duvets!

(I'll add pictures to the Facebook post)

Day 15, Passage to Puerto Montt

2000Z 06OCT19, Day 15, Easter Island to Puerto Montt, Chile. We've made good progress and are actively slowing down a bit. The winds came up, as expected overnight, but things were handled sailing just the genoa and running downwind. We gybed 3 times to keep a good course with the wind shifts. As morning came the winds shifted more southwest than forecasted and took awhile to calm back down. Slowly things have been settling back down and the main was raised around noon local.

Current Position: 41 21S / 075 33W
24 hour progress: 153nm, 6.4kts avg SOG
Overall progress for the passage is 1963nm with approximately 80nm to the entrance canal to get to Puerto Montt. Today has been gray and dreary with the occasional sun trying to do a cameo, but the feeling of being enveloped in a fog cloud has left. We are currently sailing a starboard tack, beam reach with 3 reefs in the main and a reef in the genoa. The winds are 20kts +/- 5kts and the seas are big but calming. We would raise more sail, but need to slow down for a daylight approach to the canal.

We passed a cargo ship around sunrise this morning and are expecting to start seeing marine traffic as we are approaching the coast. The weather and sailing has been challenging. However things are starting to calm and we are trying to time our arrival with daylight tomorrow morning. From there we will either wait a night at anchor outside the canal, or go through the canal and stop to anchor for the night along the way to Puerto Montt.

The crew are all doing well. The boys have been a bit stir crazy and everyone is excited for landfall! We continue to be extremely satisfied with Zephyros and her pilot house. She has been a great boat for these conditions - we have been comfortable inside with the door closed while it continued to rain last night and the wind was from behind (which would blow the rain inside with the door open).

We have had some minor damage from the hard sailing. The winds have caused a short blow out of a seam in our genoa which will need to be sewed when we get into port. For now we have a reef in the genoa to protect it from further splitting. It is close to the forestay near the tack so a couple of wraps of the furler has it unloaded and protected.

Day 14, Passage to Puerto Montt

2000Z 05OCT19, Day 14, Easter Island to Puerto Montt, Chile. We've now completed 2 weeks at sea for this passage. Zephyros has been putting away good miles in the last 24 hours, especially overnight when the winds were up. In fact, we have purposely slowed ourselves down to ensure a daylight arrival on Monday. Not too much farther now!

Current Position: 40 31S / 078 40W
24 hour progress: 148nm, 6.2kts avg SOG
Overall progress for the passage is 1810nm with approximately 230nm to the entrance canal to get to Puerto Montt. Yesterday's drizzle continued and we woke up enveloped in a cold, drizzly, foggy cloud that hasn't really lifted. Very dreary. The radar has been on, though there is nothing to see and no returns. We are currently running deep downwind with a full genoa and no main. The winds are 15kts +/- 5kts and the seas have been building.

The crew are all doing well. We are looking forward to seeing land though it will still be a few days before we walk on land again. Winds are expected to build in the near term. We are prepared for a busy 24 hours with high winds and multiple gybes before things lighten up as we get ready to make landfall; just the last stretch to power through.

Day 13, Passage to Puerto Montt

2000Z 04OCT19, Day 13, Easter Island to Puerto Montt, Chile. We've made direct and steady progress. The engine remained on through the night. We were happy to begin sailing again after sunrise. The winds steadied out to the predictions - giving us 10-15kts from the northwest so we could set up a good course under sail.

Current Position: 39 44S / 081 39W
24 hour progress: 125nm, 5.2kts avg SOG
Overall progress for the passage is 1662nm with approximately 375nm to the entrance canal to get to Puerto Montt. Today was a rather gray day with cloud cover and drizzle which is the first rain we have had in awhile. We are currently sailing a broad reach with full sails. The winds are 20kts +/- 5kts and the seas remain calm. So we are moving along nicely making good speed.

The crew are all doing well. We had pizza last night and cinnamon rolls this morning so morale is high. We are starting to look like we will arrive near the canal (the various natural passages between islands are called "canals" in Chile) entrance sometime on Monday, 7 October. From there we can anchor to wait for the tide (and weather, though predictions say weather should be good) as needed. After that we will have about 70nm to get to Puerto Montt. Those 70nm will take a couple of days. We will sail during the day and anchor at night. We are looking forward to seeing land and making the last bit of the passage in the inland waters of Chile!

We moved better under engine last night so perhaps we were being set by a current yesterday and then were being assisted over night. The hull is certainly ready for a cleaning too. We continue to get spurious readings from our boat speed indicator that has been acting up since leaving Ecuador. This means that it is difficult to tell how we are being affected by the current through our instruments and onboard computers. We hope to be able to dry out and clean the hull and sensor in Puerto Montt, and hopefully that will straighten out our sensor inconsistencies.

Day 12, Passage to Puerto Montt

2000Z 03OCT19, Day 12, Easter Island to Puerto Montt, Chile. The engine has been turned on and we've been motoring since yesterday evening. We've briefly either had wind or a good angle but rarely both so onward we motor sail. Progress is slow - we aren't quite sure why we aren't making better speed with the engine, but it may be a counter swell/current issue and/or growth on the hull. We have successfully motor sailed a bit with the genoa out; however, any attempts to secure the engine have been frustratingly short lived.

Current Position: 38 54S / 084 07W
24 hour progress: 112nm, 4.7kts avg SOG
Overall progress for the passage is 1537nm with approximately 500nm! to the entrance canal to get to Puerto Montt. Another partially sunny and partially gray day with cloud cover. We are currently motor sailing with full sails. Winds are light and variable and the seas are calm with a small swell.

The crew are all doing well. The celebratory dinner was a success last night. We have cleaned a bit today, made brownies, popcorn and are watching a movie - The Hunt for Red October. We will make pizza for dinner so a rather successful motoring day. The boat is warm inside and spirits are high.

Fishing line has been out, but no fish have been hooked. We are back to not seeing anything but sky, waves and clouds. One albatross flew by this morning, no marine mammals, no ships.

Day 11, Passage to Puerto Montt

2000Z 02OCT19, Day 11, Easter Island to Puerto Montt, Chile. We continue to make good progress in, mostly, the right direction. Things kicked up a bit around sunset yesterday, and we made really good speed and course throughout the night due to the calmer seas and good wind. By dawn the winds became shifty and then died, so on went the engine for 30 minutes. The winds soon returned and we were back to sailing on a decent, if not direct course. As the day continued the course shifted back and forth and the winds came up and down, but so far we are still sailing.

Current Position: 38 10S / 086 15W
24 hour progress: 136nm, 5.7kts avg SOG
Overall progress for the passage is 1425nm with approximately 610nm to the entrance canal to get to Puerto Montt. Another partially sunny and partially gray day with cloud cover. We are sailing close hauled with full main and genoa. Winds are currently about 10-15kts and the seas are calm with a long, easy swell.

The current weather suggests we will likely motor for 24-48 hours starting soon and then we should get wind again. This is typical for this passage route as we cross the established high pressure system, and it isn't all bad as we need to use up our warm weather diesel to replace it with cold weather diesel. It also allows us to stay flat and do some house keeping, cooking and baking. Though the drone of the engine gets old, it does also heat water and the cabin so that is another bonus.

We saw our first ships since leaving Easter Island. A large tanker passed about 4nm away this morning. It was nice to see another vessel. Today continued with radio chatter and another 2 vessels passing at 0.5nm and 1.5nm respectively. All signs that we are crossing a shipping route or getting closer to land. Our only other contact for this passage was detected on AIS with a closest point of 26nm away (well outside visual range) on one of the first days of the passage.

The crew are all doing well. Today is our 15 year wedding anniversary!!! A lot has happened in 15 years and we are so happy and grateful that we are living and sharing this wonderful life together. We have lived in (London, San Diego, Newport, Germany, DC, Greece, Seattle) and traveled to so many amazing places (national Parks road trip, 2+ years sailing almost 19k nm, visiting 21 countries and territories). What a great and fitting way to celebrate 15 years of marriage as we head towards Jon's dream visit to Patagonia together, as a family, on our dream boat. We are thankful for what we have shared and hope for many more adventuresome years together!

If conditions continue to be mild, we plan to celebrate with a steak and potato dinner and a glass of red wine. We only drink on passage on very rare occasions like splitting a halfway-there-beer or an equator crossing rum. This halfway point was far too busy and chaotic so we have not had any alcohol this passage, but a 15 year anniversary seems like a good reason for a special treat.