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.
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. 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).