Make your own free website on

Sailmithril - ocean cruising adventures

NZ to Chile


40 days in the Roaring Forties.

Northern chile, golfo de Penas
the less wild channels

We arrived safely in Chile after 52 days which was a bit faster than we expected. Had very little in the way of light winds and only becalmed for total of 10 hours. Averaged 104 miles a day over the total length (all under sail of course) which is about 15% more than on our other long trips to date. We had 3 gales one more than force 11 which was pretty vicious; the type of weather when you're actually glad when night falls so that you can no longer see the waves. The depression on the weather fax looked like someone had put a big smudgy thumb print on the page all whorls and closely placed sloping lines. No damage was sustained and the old mainsail did us proud as it is still intact. We sailed a lot of the time with reefs in the mizzen and no main which is something of an innovation. It wasn't too cold in general, never below 11 degrees inside. We were able to run the diesel heater in all but the strongest winds. Saw plenty of albatrosses and other birds. Only a few pilot whales, no dolphins and towards the end a few sealions. Saw only one ship until the last day. Landfall was interesting but misty and lots of rain. The land is treed and very green. We had to motor sail the last 20 hours as we had a tide to catch to get us through the channel between Chiloe island and the mainland at about 42 degrees south. This was a bit like Strangford narrows except that it had a bar at both ends. The second one was the worst with large standing waves; good job there was a current as we lost way at times even with the engine flailing away at 2000 revs. We did have the company of a pride of sealions porpoising through the water and doing an eyes left on every jump to have a good look at us. We anchored in a very Scottish looking lough with mist on the hills and shellfish farms all around us. It took us a while to get anchored as we had forgotten where the gypsy (the pulley that the anchor chain runs over) from the windlass had been stored. We hoaked in every likely space while we drifted among the farm floats and found it in a most unlikely space among the spare wellies and the last of the pumpkins. The next morning we came on up to Puerto Montt and found a whole flotilla of foreign yachts and even a cruising chat-line on the radio every morning. This was not what we expected but it gives a chance to swap books and information about places further south. We are berthed in a marina for the next 4 days. Well sort of marina, one pontoon with about a dozen fingers (5 pounds per day). It is in a narrow channel between an island and the mainland about 3 miles from Puerto Montt harbour itself. There are no sea walls as no sea ever gets up the sound. It is blowing about force 5 from the north west today with sleet!!!! We walked to Puerto Montt yesterday as it was a lovely day and in the distance we could see snow covered mountains one of them a perfect volcanic cone. The town is good and prices are cheaper than when we were in Chile 4 years ago. They are the same in numbers but the exchange rate is 25% better. The wine is now 60p a litre and we found some nice rum at about 1.50 pounds a bottle, so we had a bit of a party last night. We had no drink on board for the voyage at all. The marina has free internet access. The next few days will be spent washing clothes and shopping. Laundrettes are non-existent in this town.

copyright Geraldine Foley.