At the gateway to Patagonia

When heading towards the Deep South, it is important to take advantage of the slightest weather window and to sail under- canvased as the gusts are unpredictable and violent.

Who: Fanch & Cathy
Where: Patagonia
Multihull: Katalu 42
Blog: www.ystafell.fr 

We are on our way to the Valdes Peninsula. The wind is from southeast to northeast, moderate and the weather is fine. The Roaring Forties welcome us into their domain and we respectfully enter. Mainsail and solent with one reef are set for the night. And we were lucky because although the weather forecast was for 20 knots, outside it was more like 30 knots, gusting to 40. We took in three reefs and it was a shame not to have a fourth... I’m used to strong winds but here, what strikes you is the violence of the gusts. It’s instantaneous and you don’t really know when it will stop. The sky can be clear, with not a cloud in sight, yet all of a sudden, it blows up as though it were a storm. You really have to be ready for it! We advance under sail but at least Ystafell does not suffer, and neither do we... The sea is heavy with waves of 5-6 meters. The waves break but Ystafell’s stern takes the pressure and the breaker rumbles beneath us. We are sailing at between 7 and 13 knots, 18 knots in the surf and the breakers easily overtake us. In the morning, the wind had calmed down. We shook out the reefs and rested after a difficult night. The next day, the weather was the same, in other words, 20 to 30 knots of apparent wind from the North. Then the breeze began to strengthen again. Forty knots during the night but still from the north, so we weren’t complaining! We had already taken in three reefs before nightfall, in preparation. It would drop off during the day, but was still north-north-east, so we were making progress. We had to get to the entrance channel at low tide slack water. However, we were going too fast and we had to heave to, jib aback, mainsail slack, helm to leeward and we drifted at two knots, fully beam-on to the wind and right on course. This optimization of the speed proved to be successful: we arrived in the entrance channel right on schedule. At anchor, the wind strengthened from the south and reached 52 knots. A few days later, the weather was favorable for heading South. We had a window of no more than 24 hours, but that was enough for us to sail down to Puerto San Julian and thus gain 24 hours en route to Ushuaïa. We were happy to be back on the open sea - the big swell, the watches, the naps and the stars.

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Location :
ROSAS, Spain
Year :
275 000,00 Inc. tax€