We were off - but only to wait for weather at Isla Lennox

On Friday, 7JAN22, after final goodbye's and chatting around Zephyros with our fellow sailors at Micalvi, we successfully extracted ourselves from our Micalvi parking spot. It was a calm, light wind day and we motored along with the current on flat seas with a very light headwind. When we left we weren't sure how far we would go. The point was more that we left the port after a bunch of difficulties getting checked out. However, it was a pleasant enough day, so we decided to keep going. We even got a couple of hours sailing in after we exited the Beagle and pointed south. It's always more enjoyable to have the engine off and to save the fuel, even if we started out close hauled before relaxing to a close reach.

We knew there was weather coming and the next chance to move would be Sunday before more weather rolled through. In the end, we decided to go to Lennox, which is an easy departure anchorage. This would allow us flexibility to take a weather window to get closer to Cape Horn or even to head off, depending on the forecasts. It didn't look great, but it would put us in a position to grab good weather, if it materialized.

Being able to have the short sail also turned out to be a good little shake down. We decided to change a couple of things before we head offshore. It's actually been awhile since we raised the main and we spotted one of those "about to happen / about to become an issue" items and replaced some failing bungee links with new line. As we knew it was supposed to get windy, we went ahead and made the changes Friday after anchoring when all we had was light winds to raise the main. Yay, something quickly sorted out!

The first night saw us rocking in some swell. It's something that doesn't happen much at anchor in the channels but happens plenty in other parts of the world. We spent the night adjusting and figured it helps to gain the necessary sea legs. By Saturday morning the wind had moved more to the west and we no longer had any swell. We got blown around a bit, but the anchor holding is solid so it was all fine. We watched weather, secured some more items for sea and hung out. The Sunday window no longer looked to be great and it appeared that we could get caught in the strong gusts forecast for over Cape Horn. While the boat can deal with it all well, Zephyros is loaded with extra fuel, so the prudent course, is to avoid heavy weather as much as practical. Plus we don't have those sea legs yet, so right into big seas and high winds is always challenging. We decided to give the closing Sunday window a pass.

However, because Sunday was indeed calm off of Lennox, we moved Zephyros down closer towards the Alcamar. Alcamar's are Navy control posts that monitor traffic, a bit like a light house and marine traffic control with a keeper but no light. They typically have a family stationed at them for 1-2 year tours. It seems like quite the interesting opportunity. We also know there is a king penguin that likes to hang out by the Alcamar house at Lennox, so we were hoping to have a walk and catch a sighting of the infamous penguin. Unfortunately the penguin also decided to get out and about in the nice, calm weather so we missed him. However, we still enjoyed the land time and chance to stretch our legs. We were also able to say "hello" on the radio to the family at the Alcamar with their two young children, and to wave as we went by. We had a nice walk to see some beaver dams and the beach despite missing the penguin.

The weather showed the winds would again have some north to them so we decided to move back up to the northern bay off of Lennox for better protection over night and to wait out the heavy winds forecasted for Monday and Tuesday. We also took advantage of the calm evening to deflate the dinghy and store it as we didn't want to do that in heavy winds. With everything tidied up we are feeling really ready to go, just obsessed with weather now.

Monday 10JAN, found us indeed seeing strong winds and glad that we weren't out in the Drake. We continue to watch for a weather window but the next one is closing up and has issues too. We are trying to calculate the safest compromise. Meanwhile our anemometer (wind speed indicator) stopped working, it seems to have worn out a bearing after 4 years of faithful spinning. It was reading properly in the morning, but is now reading way too low. This provides some challenges. We are hoping the auto pilot will still pilot us efficiently with the apparent wind angle and gyro readings, even if the wind speed is wrong and not responsive to gusts. It won't affect our backup Windpilot self-steering in any way. The problem will mean that we don't have the ability to have the computer tell us the winds are building or dying off, and we will have to manage our sail plan by the feel of the wind which we should certainly be able to do, it is just more challenging, particularly for our young watchstanders.

We continue to sit and wait. Hoping a weather window materializes while we work on sourcing a replacement part. We are anxious to set off across the Drake, but we didn't wait for the correct window only to push on into a tough one. Fingers remain crossed that we will have something this week. Sitting in Lennox listening to heavy winds through the rigging is getting a bit old. But we are making the most of it too - resting and pushing through school work with the boys.

We will start the daily log posts after we get going, but thought we would do an update since we have been sitting here a few days. Thanks for following along!

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the update. can't remember from your earlier notes, are you heading north to Falklands or detouring south first before turning north?