March 8th 2008

Cape Horn.Feb 28

Cape Horn. Feb 28. We snuck up to the famous Cape, in a light sea and clear skies. I can only imagine my Grandfather Sven Nordman´s ordeal as his struggle to round the Cape took 48 days. We did it in a few hours, despite some last minute problems with Chilean pilots who did not have the correct boat to approach our garagantuan ship. Eventually we rounded the Cape, allowing us to be called ¨Seadogs¨, ¨Cape Horners¨ or perhaps just ¨horny¨. We are also allowed to wear one earring to signify we rounded the Cape from East to West, once. The Magellan Strait and the connecting Beagle Channel, is a fiord that cuts across Tierra Del Fuego, and it shortens the transit time for modern day sailors. (But the winds still howl down these Straits and Channels).

Imagine those prior to power vessels, having no Panama Canal until 1917, who were told to ¨sail aggressively against the prevailing winds, as hard as you could go, without breaking something.¨ Awesome as my sons say. These were tougher men, who fought the seas with fixed masts and booms unlike todays pampered sailors.

Cape Horn

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One Response to: “Cape Horn.Feb 28”

  1. Great adventure and wonderful to hear your first hand observations. Of sailors – recall the crushing of the Endurance – and in 1915 Elephant Island was the island on which Schackleton’s men huddled under their lifeboats and from which he and 2 others completed the extraordinary feat of sailing 700 miles in the open boat ‘James Caird’ to South Georgia for rescue. Upon arriving on the lee shore and given headwinds, unwiling to take the time to sail around, he led his crew to assault the cliffs and mountains to arrive at Port Stanley. After a second attempt all of his crew were rescued from Elelphant Is. One of the most amazing feats of sailing and leadership the world has witnessed.

    Why go round the horn – well for Sperm Whale oil, or at least that was the reason for Nantucket sailors. The ramming and sinking of the Nantucket whaleship Essex in 1819 gave rise to Melville’s Moby-Dick. The Essex sank 3000 miles west of SAmerica and only 8 of 20 crew made it back following harrowing sailing and canabalism by their crewmates.

    I trust your voyage is more civilized and look forward to the further chronicles of your modern day adventure in the southern ocean!


    victor said on 09 Mar 2008 at 1:39 pm #

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