Drake Passage Northbound, Day 4

0800Z 27FEB21, Day 4, Drake Passage Northbound. It was, indeed, a windy, tough day. The weather was gray, dreary and drizzly. We left Cape Horn way, way off to port.

Current Position: 55 47S / 064 55W
24 hour progress: 117nm, 4.9kts avg SOG. 4.75 hours of engine time in the past 24 hours. Overall progress for the passage is 545nm, approximately 115nm to Puerto Williams.

We bashed into large seas and high winds all day as close hauled as we could get, which was really more of a close reach. Our progress was slow, steady, northeasterly and safe. We were making good progress and an ok course until we saw gusts around 50kts. Then we put in the 4th reef and changed to the inner staysail. This slowed us down and pushed our course rather more easterly. We sailed this way for about 14 hours in 35-45kt winds, with rare gusts above 45. Zephyros does not sail particularly well to windward (she's not a deep keeled racer) especially reefed down in big seas. We kept things as comfortable as possible and when back to winds consistently 35 or less, we shook out reefs (back to 3 in the main and back to the genoa - reefed and then eventually back to full) obtained better speed and a slightly more northerly course. We wanted to be east of the steep shelf rise near Cape Horn to avoid the resulting waves, but we ended up 75nm east of the Horn which was at least 45nm wider than planned.

We expect the wind to die off, switch on the engine and point directly towards the Beagle Channel soon. We have a lot more easterly miles to undo than we had intended.

We are all doing well and happy to be warmer. It has been gradually getting warmer inside the boat as well as outside. We are, of course, excited to be close to the Beagle, and anxious to be back in Puerto Williams! We think this has been the passage we have all most wanted to end - we are glad to be successfully through day 4 and all ready for sleep and showers. We still plan to stop in a good anchorage before returning to civilization. We could go straight to Puerto Williams but we prefer to sleep hard at anchor before pulling out fenders and lines, not to mention the mental work of trying to tie up to other boats while under slept. We'll be fine tuning a plan based on progress, options, weather and timing through out the day.

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