Heading south again

Here we are at the beginning of our 4th seasons on Haiyou. We had a fantastic time in France, soaking up the generous sunshine of this year northern summer, and the warmth from family and friends reunion.What a pleasure! But now it is back to business.

We found ice on deck when we arrived back from Europe early in the morning of September 12.


We found Haiyou in good shape under the watchful eyes of Marcello, the local marina manager, and Rene, a good Swiss friend who has wintered on his boat next to us. No traces of humidity in spite of the incessant rain. The heater was on right a way and has rarely been turned off since.

Rene our Swiss friend is 3rd from the right. Sitting with other cruisers, listening to Marianna’s tale of sailing all the way up outside the channel due to a broken engine: a serious achievement!


I launched myself into a project which had pre occupied my mind for a while : the installation of a Dickinson diesel stove we carried in our bags back from France. It took me about 3 weeks of work as I did not want to ruin the integrity of the boat nor its good look.

Finding the right spot for the stove…. difficult on a boat


A typical work day would start on google translate to rehearse my inexistant spanish vocabulary before going to the steel fabricator or the ferrateria , a 20 minutes bus trip away. Invariably, by the time I reached the workshop my little spanish knowledge had evaporated and it was back to sign language and small drawings. Chileans are very patient and with time every thing can be found in Valdivia and if not fabricated. One shop would sell stainless nuts and bolts, but not stainless screws, those were found at the other end of town in an industrial tool shop, but stainless clip would be found somewhere else yet again. I have a very good knowledge of Valdivia industrial surburbs by now.

The culmination of the stove installation was the cutting of a 13 cm hole in the coach roof (5 inches) for the stove pipe to go through. This required serious mental preparation and a lot of head scratching as no true sailor likes to drill a hole in the deck of his boat as for a 5″ one, this could be cause for serious mental disorder or marriage breakdown.

The 5” hole in the cabin top. What have I done?


But everything went well and we now have a good looking and seriously hot stove in our boat. It is great when the outside temperature is below 10 degree C, otherwise it is a little too hot and we have to open the hatches.

Lynn lounging next to the fireplace… what a luxury!

Detail of the installation


During this time, Lynn toured the region with our friend Bill and Licen who came for a visit from the US, loaded with spare parts for me and Chinese food for Lynn.

With Bill and Licen, both uni friends from Lynn. Bill was very quick to adopt the local dress code: beannie always on!


For the last week she has been busy provisioning the boat for another season in the south. I have been doing the last boat preparation.

Final preparation, marking the chain every 10 meters with fluorescent spray

Next week we will push off from Valdivia,  reaching Terra del Fuego’s Puerto Williams by mid December, and then onward to Antarctica if all goes as planned.

Cheers for now.

Chris & Lynn


Back from the wilderness 

We have finally reconnected with civilisation and are securely tided up at the Yacht Club in Validiva, a university town 500 miles south of Santiago. We arrived yesterday having covered 1600 miles in the patagonian channels in about 2 1/2 months.   Overall it has been a very smooth trip. The amazing lanscape all the way was well worth the almost incessant rain, adverse wind and cold temperature. But we are happy to have reached the more gentle world of  temperate Chile. For the last week or so we have had sunshine, the first time in many weeks and it felt really good. The plan now is to do boat maintenance, before leaving it here for a few months to visit family and friends in France and China. We will return in mid  September to get it ready for Antarctica, which will be our next destination, provided we get all the neccessary permit , insurance and gear in time. 

Leaving Puerto Eden at dawn. The moon is still visible. Population 150, 6 meters of rain per year in average.

A good anchorage on a rare sunny day – Note the built in rollers for the dyneema lines: a real luxury!

A well deserved drink after crossing the nortoriously challenging Golfo de Penas which marks the northern limit of Patagonia

What Lynn does when it rains: cook! Lucky me

Wodden chrurches of Chiloe just north of the patagonia channels : a skill transfer from boat building!

For those who are thinking of doing the Patagonian channels here are some of our impressions and data. We did an average of 47 miles a day, being on the move every second or  third day to  avoid the worst of the weather. We only had to turn around once , in Puerto Natales, because of adverse condition. We liked the place but next time will not  do the detour which adds too much mileage through fairly exposed and rough water. We burned 1400 liters of fuel for engine use and heating. The engine  , a Volvo D2-75, consumed 5 liter/ hour or about 1 liter a mile ( instead of the usual 3.5 liters per hour) a result of adverse wind and current. We anchored 35 times , whenever possible using 4 lines to shore. It takes a bit of practice but is not all that difficult, and the 4 lines rollers make it a fast operation. We found that the 2 critical steps were scouting the anchorage for suitable trees and making sure the anchor is well set and tested before doing the line runs. Dyneema lines worked best: suple, kink free, light and immensly strong. We will add a small 2.5 hp outboard forthe dinghy next time . A long trip but very feasible with a well heated boat , a good engine and a crew of 2. 

A good day in the channels: only 13 knots on the nose and 6 knots speed. It rains as usual but the inner watch station is very comfy.

Haiyou performed flawlessly in these conditions. No breakage to report except my electric blanket and the zipper on the lazy bag! We will do a fair bit of regular and preventive maintenance here. The main addition we are planning to do is a small  wall-mounted diesel stove  to maintain room temperature without having to fire up the central heating ( Webasto).


Cape Horn & Patagonia

We are still in the patagonian channels enjoying the raw beauty of the end of the world. We started by rounding  Cape Horn  together with buddy boat Dandelion. The weather was calm that day and we almost felt like a cheat! But we certainly have paid for this later with quite a few weeks of stormy weather up the channels.

Haiyou around Cape Horn on a calm day

Anchored in Caleta Murray 10 miles north of Cape Horn with our good friends Sue and John and Michelle fron Dandelion. From there they headed North East to the Carribean. We hope to see them again.

Rain ( or snow)  and cold excepted this is a fantastic place to cruise with awe inspiring  sights at every corner. The secret to a good night sleep however is to tie the boat to  4   sturdy trees on shore evey night. The gusts roaring down the montain , called williwas, can be very violent and pull the anchor out. The boat even pulled a tree out once.  After a few weeks on the wet side we have crossed the Andes through a tiny gap in the cordillera to Puerto Natales on the leeward side , which is dry(er ) and sunnier and is the only inhabited place around here.

Caleta Brecknock: granite walls everywhere. Haiyou is tied up to 4 trees in the tiny bay

Caleta Beaulieu, a lot of ice floes from the glacier.

We have restocked fuel ( for heating and the engine) , beer ( it
is always the first thing to run out ) and fruit and vegies & got an internet fix.
In a few days we will push off again, cross the Andes again and head towards the next harbour 450 miles north called Puerto Eden ( population: 150!).It is fun!

Refuelling means several trips to the gas station with Jerrycans. There are no docks for yachts here. A full day job!

All is well aboard, and Haiyou is well suited for this type of work. We might install a  Dickinson stove at some point as the webasto furnace , while working well , is not fuel efficient long term and we  are comtemplating a second season in the South.

Puerto Natales with a view on Torres del Plain

Argentina,  Falklands and Terra del Fuego

We had a fantastic trip heading South and as I write these lines we are in Ushuaia. Heading down the Argentinian coast was tricky because of frontal weather, some of the windows lasting only a few hours , but we managed  to avoid the worst of the front and soon reached Caletta Horno a beautifull and safe anchorage . 

Caletta Horno, a beautifull and safe anchorage

From there we did a 600 miles passage  through the roaring 40ies an 50 ies to the Falklands, again waving through the depressions. After a few days in Stanley the capital we headed west to discover this rugged archipelago, and its abundant marine life. We saw many colonies of Penguins, Albatros and Shags ( cormorrant) ammong the cliff of the west islands. One of the highlight however was spending a week or so anchored off Beaver Island and getting to know Jerome Poncet, a French adventurer and explorer of the deep south who  has settled there. We felt both inspired and very humbeled by Jerome’s achievement ( as well as his hopitality). What we are doing is a walk in a park in comparison.

Discussing the lay of theland with Jerome under the curious gaze of two young reindeers

The Faklands in addition to being home to 3000 people of mostly british descant, harbours a lot of widelife as well as 600 000 sheeps!

Then it was time to go and for a change we had no wind for the passage to Staten Island  just off Terra del Fuego. It is wet and rugged, and totally inhabited. Our anchorage was perfect  in a small bay entered through a pass of about 10 meters,  hidden behind a small island and moored with 4 shorelines. We did some beautifull if very steep hikes.We sailed through Lemaire straight, a nasty piece of water at night with the current and following  wind, wing on wing, covering 31 miles in about 3 hours and entered the Beagle channel at dawn about 50 miles north of Cap Horn. We stopped in Haberton , the oldest Estancia in this part of the world and discovered the history of the great  family who tried to save the local indians from the destruction of colonisation in the late 19th century.

Puerto Hopner on staten Island. Wilde and desolate but fantastic hiking. Note Haiyou moorred with 4 shorelines in the background

Sub arctic flora. It is spring here.

We are now in Ushuaia to restock and refuel  before going west then north through the Patagonian channels. This should take us about 3 months and by April or May we should reach Puerto Montt where we will rest for some time.

The author of this blog enjoying a well deserved rest at Estancia Haberton, Terra del Fuego

The sailing has been good and overall quite windy. Haiyou performed well with no serious issue ( touch wood). I noticed the starboard  top spreader had slipped and was bending downward under the strain of the shroud tension.  I was able to staighten it and have slacken the main shrouds which I think were overtighten  ( factory setting). We will see if this works. I have some prop cavitation above 2200 rpm  when motoring in heavy chop. I am not sure how to solve this one. The car heater I have installed is really great and should be  on every boat heading for cold water. We also found that an electric blanket does wonder. We put it on half an hour before going to bed and it remove all humidity. It only draws 4 or 5 amps.

We wish you all an excellent new year and we often think of family and friends back in France, China and Australia or sailing the oceans of the world.

Chris and Lynn


After a few months in Europe catching up with family and friends we are back on Haiyou. The trip from France was a bit of an odyssey with 150 kgs of luggage , mostly gear for the boat…. + a suitecase full of chinese food.  Uruguayan customs were very kind to let us in. They did stop us but soon realised it would be too hard to deal with all this stuff. 

Splashing the boat is always special as well as nerve racking

We then spent a few weeks getting the boat ready, including antifouling and installing some of the goodies we brought back. The one I am the most proud of is a secondary heater using waste heat from the engine and mounted in parallel to the waterheater ( hopefully nothing will leak).

I spent a few days under the flooboards to install this secondary heater

After an overnight sail along the coast  we cleared out  of Uruguay in Colonia and arrived in Buenos Aires the next day .  We had been warned that Rio del plata is a treacherous place to sail. It is absolutely littered with wrecks, many of them still visible, as the water is only 3 or 4 meters deep.This in itself is a stern warning to mariners. I had an updated list of dangerous wrecks and spent a few hours marking them on the electronic chart.  We got a taste of the weather a few hours after we arrived when we got hit by a 50 knots squall without  any warning. We heard it before we felt it. I sounded like a freight train was approaching towards us. 

Yacht Club Argentino is very welcoming and a great location to visit the town

Buenos Aires is a very large city of 14 + millions people. It is not beautiful but quite grand with a vibrant cultural life. Lynn splurged on all  the city had to offer. She dragged me to ballet , which I did enjoy  in the end and to a show of Tango ( no need to drag me to this one!).

Standing ticket for ballet, but wha a view!

Today we went shopping to replenish the pantry for the months ahead. 17 crates of food were delivered to our dock  by Carrefour and that is only the dry stuff. As I write this post Lynn is burrying everything under the floorboards and she has asked me to go away for a few hours. Hopefully when I go back Haiyou is still floating.

Our bikes are really useful for exploring the city, we even take them on trains

We are flying to Salta in the country northwest for a few days ,  then we will sail south to Mare del Plate, the Valdez peninsula and weather permitting Malvinas ( the Falklands).


Into Winter

As we moved south along the coast of Brazil the weather started to change and trade winds were replaced by frontal systems. Now that we have reached Uruguay the heating is turned on most days. While Uruguay has got a temperate climate, blustery cold fronts moving from  the south  every week or so give us an inkling as to what we will face heading in that direction in a few months.

The heating is on and the mate ( a local hebal tea) is ready

For now we have put Haiyou on the hard in Piriapolis,  the only port in Uruguay with haul out facilities, for some well deserved maintenance after  sailing 12 000 miles since we took delivery two years ago. No serious issues, but preventive maintenance have shown that the turbo  from the engine needed a good clean up , and the windlass was badly corroded and needed new bearings. Both pieces of gear will be very important in Patagonia, where we will have to be totally self reliant. I have a long shopping list of spares and various safety gear  to buy when in Europe. These include a jordan serie drogue , a device I hope I will not have to deploy too often,  a spare alternator as ours is showing signs of weakness , a car type heater as a back to our Webasto, plus another 100 odd bits and pieces.

Haiyou, hopefully well secured against the winter pamperos

We have fond memories of Brazil , but safety issues and pollution of the coast line spoiled some of the pleasure. Here in Uruguay, it is clean and safe, we enjoy these things we take for granted in Australia or in France. Maybe for  these reasons we only met one or two other cruisers in Brazil, but here in Piriapolis there are quite a few of them , waiting for summer to head South. We always enjoy socializing with this eclectic bunch. Tomorrow we will leave for a grand tour of the  back country  by car before flying to France for me and China for Lynn on June 21st.

We always enjoy meeting other sailors

We will be back on board in late  September, and will get the boat ready to head South later in the year, maybe to the Falkland first before heading to Terra del Fuego. We are both looking forward to this  advanture , probably our most challenging sailing ever , so a bit of R&R in France this summer will be welcome.

Impression of Brazil

we’ve been in Brazil for a month, it feels much longer. Brazil has been a fresh experience for us, we are still exploring it.

Beautiful dugout canoes

Salvador is HaiYou’s port of entry, Brazilians love their paperworks, formalities require going to 3 different places that took us 3 full days. We took all the advices about securities, We taxi to places unsure, took enough cash in the pocket and brought nothing valuable, we even removed our wedding rings. Drug addicts usually hunt at night, so we got things done in mornings when they are sleeping. 

Favela kids playing

Brazilians love their music, even in the protest. When we do the immigration in police station, there were a group of people joyfully singing and dancing in the lobby. It took me a while to realize that it was not a party, but a protest for some fishery matters. The city marina is right under the historical old town, we stayed there for 10 days, waiting to see the Carnivals on my request. loud music blasted every night, I even got a few tunes stuck in my mind. Walking in “Bloco” behind a huge “Trio Eletrico” (Truck with a band), the loudspeakers were so powerful that you need a strong heart to stand them. At last we have participated the Carnivals.

Lynn in front a Bloco 18 wheelers truck stage

We really enjoyed meeting local people. The owner of marina boat shop took us under his arms and brought us around. He dinghy us to a local water front restaurant which would be too dangerous to go by the road. Teenagers dive to catch fish and bring them to the restaurant. The freshly caught fish tasted so much better than the farmed ones. Brazilian foods are simple but delicious, with weather not favored to grow wheat, lots of traditional dishes are gluten free! (Rice, beans, manioc, tapioca, etc). The restaurant also acts as a fish dealer and seemed fuel the village economy. It was fun to watch locals interacting with each other. Brazilians are very pleasant, low key and helpful.

Enjoying lunch with Marcello

We’ve been to some really beautiful anchorages, one of them is in front of a 17th century monastery. It is hard to imagine an armed robbery happened here just a few days ago, if we knew we wouldn’t have anchored here! We had the boat door locked at night, and hatches tied down. Chris had a fog horn and fishing harpoon handy, in fact in case of being mugged.

Nice anchorage off a Franciscan abandoned monastery

At night , in usafe surrounding, we lock ourself in and i tie down the atches so they cannot be open from outside

Sailing is good in Brazil, with steady trade wind and very calm sea. We made 48 hours sail to Abralhos Islands. With light trade wind less than 15 knots, we ran gennaker all the way. The sea was smooth like velvet, It was the best sail I ever had. There was only one thing which is stressful: fishing boats. We had caught fishing net, and once nearly had a collision with a turning trawler.

Abrolhos light house, fabricated in France and built in 1861. Everything is original including the Fresnel lens.

2 days stay in Abrolhos National Park was another highlight, for the first time we could feel free to snorkel around and leave the boat unlocked. Plenty of fish and turtles here. All the lighthouses are run by navy in Brazil, we got the permission to go on island to watch sunset on the light house, 160 years old lighthouse is a French design, the Fresnel lenses are original. I got the honor to switch on the light. It felt very special since I had watched this lighthouse flashing every 6 seconds on my watch. 

Pressing the button to turn the light on at dusk

We are in Vitoria now. The weather will change soon, we are keen to move down south , We will head to Rio tomorrow.
Lynn & Chris