Zac’s trip to Antarctica

February 17, 2014   

I promise I will post something soon about the trip to Antarctica this northern winter southern summer. In the meantime read Zac’s take on the trip!

A whirlwind trip

December 10, 2013   

DSC_0062 (800x536) DSC_0125 (800x536)I took 2 weeks off from the boat in Chile and went home to England to see my parents we did lots of Christmassy activities and put up a fake Christmas tree.

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Next stop was New Jersey to see my brothers family for Thanksgiving where we cut down a real Christmas tree from a farm and went to see the Christmas Spectacular at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. It is cold in New Jersey so they are making use of the synthetic down jackets I got them in Nepal last year.

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Then back to the UK for work on the 82 footer that is being rebuilt at Oyster in Southampton, early Christmas with the Whytes and Perrins and work on my 30 footer Santana that I own with my brother.

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During my time away we (my brother’s family and myself) decided to adopt a dog from Puerto Montt who had been hit by a truck in the Marina just before I left. So I have been in full investigation mode and organizing Pincoya’s paperwork and transport.

The trip back from UK was a nightmare and involved a few hours in a hotel room in Madrid (if you could call it a hotel!) and a few hours in a hotel room in Santiago. It should have taken 24 hours and instead it took 48 hours. Zac was at the airport waiting to board the flight I got off of and told me where the car was. I got back to the boat mid morning and just started working as I was in that mode. When I finally got to sleep on Monday night I had slept around 9 hours since waking up Friday morning in Cowes Isle of Wight!

 

 

 

 

Try out please?

November 23, 2013   

Thank you so much to everyone who got involved with this video I was blown away by your comments and everyones support. And Sam you are a genius and very much deserve a position on the Volvo as an onboard reporter.

River Rafting down the Petrohue River

November 10, 2013   

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I left the boat at 5pm on Friday night and drove to Lago San Todas just up the road from Ensenada. It was raining and getting dark when I arrived on the shore of the lake and luckily there was a single boatman looking for his last fare to the other side of the river. I had called ahead to a farmhouse that was listed in Lonely Planet (though without a phone number but Google solved that) and in very bad Spanish I asked if there was a room available. The room was rustic (chipboard walls) but there was a lovely fire going and the old lady using mime put dinner in front of me. There were piglets running around in the yard along with the usual cats, dogs, roosters, chickens etc.

DSC_0135 (800x539) DSC_0178 (800x531) Saturday morning I woke up to a beautiful view of the lake surrounded by mountains and went to the CONAF to log in a walk which took me 4 hours through the forest and then alongside the lake. DSC_0208 (536x800)1426179_10151985480408815_906957310_n

I called the rafting company to see if they had room for one. Quickly jumping in my car I managed to join in with a group of 5 guys from Santiago. It was interesting trying to respond to Spanish commands from the guide. Had a great time and even went down a rapid outside the raft when they said we could jump in if we wanted!

Back in Puerto Montt by 6pm and in time to watch a soccer game at the stadium across from the boat. Quite a fun filled Saturday off and Sunday is a work day but as the weather was not nice I didn’t mind so much!

Volcano Osorno

November 3, 2013   

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The first thing you see when you arrive by sea into Puerto Montt is snow covered Volcanoes all around. So being a climber it was necessary to climb one especially as it is topped by a glacier. The closest to Puerto Montt is Volcanoe Osorno in the Los Lagos region it is 2,652 meters high and perfectly conical.

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Osorno is on the shore of Llanquihue Lake and Todos Los Santos Lake. It is considered to be very active with 11 eruptions between 1575 and 1869. The conical shape reminds me of Mount Fuji which I went to as a little girl when I was either 7 or 8.

On Friday after work I picked up some rental equipment from Ensenada as I hadn’t brought my harness, boots, ice axe, crampons and helmet.

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Then on up to the Teski Refugio on the side of the mountain just above the snow line at the ski resort. The view of the lake was stunning and got even better as the evening wore on.

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After a tasty dinner it was time for bed in our bunk room as I had to be up at 4am to head on up the mountain with my climbing partner/guide Paulo.

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The CONAF office is 100 meters from the Refugio so at 5am you fill out the permit application and get a permit to attach to your backpack. Then head on up past the ski lift as the sun comes up lighting up the underside of the clouds which you are soon above.

P1120697The shadow of the volcanoe can be seen in the clouds.

P1120708We put on our crampons and continued up to one side of the heavily crevassed area of the slope. The mountains of Patagonia spread as far as we could see ranks and ranks of them on all horizons.

P1120711 As it gets steeper time for ice axe and then roping up.

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The ice features were incredible all swirly shaped from the wind.

iceclimbIt was very icy and we really needed an ice axe and hammer preferably a technical set as it became steep. But we made do with an ice axe each and had to cut steps.

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To get onto the summit it is necessary to climb under the cornice which is very stable along a very exposed shelf.

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The summit was spectacular it is a large flat platform that was windy and cold. We were the first up to the top after a bit of an ice climb! Other volcanoe summits popped out above the clouds.

Total return trip was 10 hours. It was hard work getting down hill as the snow got soft in the hot sun above the clouds.

Roll on Chile

October 22, 2013   

Pasta has become a bad word. I don’t want to eat pasta when I touch land for at least two months. Kristy has don’t a great job with the food but we have eaten pasta everyday for the last 14 days and my body just wants a big argentine/Chilean steak with two plates of fresh vegetables. I must be getting soft in my old age. It is normal for people to start talking about food on the 10th day of a trip but normally I don’t end up with such an adversion to one particular food group.  I am ready to not drink out of a sports bottle and eat out of Tupperware everyday.

The last three days have been groundhog day. The same squally conditions but last night was a really doozy with massive wind shifts both direction and speed. It was pretty hard going. Not to the level if we had been racing but the big morale killer was looking at the Distance to go (DTG) which was actually more when I came off watch after 4 hours then it was when I started. And before you suggest it the route hadn’t been changed. We were heading it seems to the Ross Sea and Captain Scott’s cabin instead of to Chile. Two days before due to route changing at 5am we were 1200 miles to go and at 9pm that night we were 1200 miles to go. It would all be fine if we had plenty of fuel then we could motor south and set ourselves up for a reach into Puerto Montt. But we have 4 days of motoring left in the tank. The last section of 75 miles we will be motoring to get from the ocean through the canal to Puerto Montt so we need fuel for that section.

This boat is certainly not a race boat it goes upwind at about 50AWA so the tacking angles are like a square rigger. However, after sitting down this morning and looking at the numbers I am pretty certain that when the rig was put back in last year the instruments weren’t calibrated as we are 20 degrees off the wind on one tack and 130 degrees off on the other tack. Even taking into account waves that is just wrong. I still have to persuade Tim (the captain) of this. But it is pretty important if you are basing your tacking on shifts on TWD (true wind direction) and the TWD you are getting from the instruments is rubbish.

This morning the sky got light but there was not spectacular sunrise and it is just gray outside with the occasional mist of rain. However, there was a beautiful albatross swooping around but not for long and also a petrel.

Roll on Chile.

After halfway

October 20, 2013   

As captain I take when to have the halfway party as a very serious issue as there is always the post halfway depression. Different people feel it to different degrees. However, in my experience if you delay the halfway party to a day past when you actually think you are halfway then the second half seems to be going quicker. At the end of the day who really knows what halfway is especially when you are not straight lining it i.e. paccup or atlantic. If you are delivering back from Hawaii or in this case down the coast and you have to sail most of a circle to get to your destination halfway is a hard one to figure out. Is it halfway on lat and long, halfway on mileage or halfway on time? All of those can be substantially different. I tend to always use the time theory and then use the worst case scenario i.e. worst case the trip could be 20 days so have the halfway at 10/11 days it the mileage seems to coincide then great.

Anyways I am rambling. Only because my watch partner at this point has ants in his pants and wants to get it done and has commented three times in the last two watches that they distance to go is not going down. Another problem with using the distance to go is that that number changes dramatically as routing changes. Routing will change a lot when trying to work your way around a high pressure system and a large north going current. So here we sit 1151nm possibly to go at our average speed which has been 8.1knots this trip that puts us in late Saturday night.

Puerto Montt is reached by going through the Chile Basin over the Chile Rise to Golfo Coronados and then in through a channel between Isle de Chileo and mainland Chile. In this channel called Canal Chacao the tide can reach 8-9 knots so there is no going through unless on a favourable. Slack tide only lasts a few minutes! The tidal range is 8m in springs or 25 feet. So we could end up if luck is with us hitting the entrance at the right time. If luck is against us we have to anchor outside at Caleta Godoy and await the change in current. The Canal takes us into Golfo de Ancud then leaving Isle Puluqui to port through Paso Quellin into Seno Reloncavi. We will be at Marina Oxxean with the isla Tenglo across the channel from us and about 2 miles from the city. The pictures of the marina in the pilot book look great. The write up about Perto Montt itself from the lonely planet guide does not excite!

But that is 7 days down the road.. The wind has gone right on the nose and looks to be the case for the next 5 days. The sun continues to rise and give OK displays but what is cool is having the light of the moon from the stern at the same time as the sun appears on the horizon off the port bow. We have 5 days worth of fuel but are hoping not to use it as this motor sailing is not as fun as sailing. In the meantime it is very lonely out here. We last saw a ship 15th and it is the 20th prior to that we saw one on the 11th. They were probably wondering like us what a boat was doing out here. Haven’t seen any wildlife for about the same amount of time it was over a week ago that we had an albatross around otherwise there has been no wildlife. The other news is I will have run out of cornflakes by Tuesday which is a little bit of disaster as I have run out of fresh fruit for my morning yoghurt, cornflakes and fruit. Guess I should have added a few more bags of cornflakes to my supermarket cart. And so life continues on the 6-8am, 12-4pm and 8pm-midnight watch.

Ecuador to Chile day 6

October 15, 2013   

We are 6 days into what is most likely an 18 day trip from Ecuador to Puerto Montt. We are moving along at around 200 miles a day 60 AWA in another 2 days we will run out of the trade winds and it will be time to motor across a ridge with less than 10 knots of wind. The south pacific high is moving around quite a lot and is currently meant to split but we are looking so far out it is not worth banking on anything. By tomorrow we will be opposite the northern Chilean border. I have been reading the Chile lonely planet guide to come up with some fun weekend trips away from the boat. Looking forward to climbing a snow topped volcano, visiting the Yosemite of Chile and spending time at an island nature reserve. It is going to be stunning. Looking forward to Christmas time in Tierra del fuego where I am hoping to do the Dientes trek a 53km most southerly trek in the world.
We have had a little excitement with the pin dropping out of the vang in the middle of the night. Bit of a fire drill to get it stabilized before the hydraulic lines split apart. The vang on this boat is about a ton to heavy for two people to lift. So I ended up in the dark on the end of the main boom to disconnect the topping lift and use it to hold the vang up while we found something to take the place of the pin. We now have a ¾ inch drive that is normally used as the manual furl for the main the shaft is a little too small for the hole but it is plenty strong!
There hasn’t been much wildlife really to speak off besides one albatross which paid us some attention for an hour and then got bored. Also a tiny bird landed to rest and ended up in the pilot house. After defecating on the leather the captain had me banish the poor bird back outside. I can’t see that it would survive out here 1000 miles from land. The small petrels have been skimming the wave tops putting in a foot and wing every now and again.
I have been spending time replying to lots of emails, organizing lists of items to get for heading to Antarctica and going through photos that are over 4 years old.
As usual Vivid is luxurious with three square meals a day and no need to put on foul weather gear as the pilot house is dry and temperature controlled. Every now and again it is necessary to head outside to trim sails otherwise the day merges into one watch after another.
I suspect we will be landing in time for the weekend after next hopefully we will get in on a Thursday giving us Friday to clean up a bit and then have a few days off in Patagonia.

Ecuador to Chile

October 8, 2013   

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So we are heading off today to move the boat south from Ecuador to Chile. 27m yacht all loaded up ready to go with food, water and fuel looks to be like a 19 day trip. As you can see from our proposed routing we will be 1000 miles offshore to get to the west side of the south pacific high pressure system and offshore of the Humboldt current. The current is a cold low salinity ocean current flowing north along the west coast of South America from the southern tip of Chile to Northern Peru which can extend up to 1000 miles offshore! Unfortunately we won’t be stopping at Easter Island.

As it creates a large amount of upwelling it is one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world as the cold nutrient rich water is full of nutrients. We expect the first few days will be dodging fishing vessels as up to 20% of the worlds fish catch comes from the Humboldt current. It is the opposite of the gulf stream decreasing the temperature of Chile and Peru.

Surprise

June 5, 2013   

It is Monday morning (Memorial Day) and I am off the Monterey and we are going in circles behind an ocean going tug because the weather window has closed to get around Deception. Our destination is Long Beach. Everything up until now has gone according to plan. Commanders is telling me there is now no window till Saturday morning and not to go south of 35 as there is a bad sea state and it blowing more than 20 knots which is our self imposed limit. I have a flight to catch Thursday night it has been planned for several months however, seamanship like decisions must come first. So I persuade the tug boat captain to take us to San Luis Obispo to make the next decision. The grib files are telling me it is a bad idea to hang out in our current location. Off we charge at 9 knots every three or four hours we stop and change out the chafing gear that is protecting the nicely varnished caprails.

The sea state starts to build we are surfing into the towing hawser and the bridle is twisted so we are loading up on the starboard one more than the port. Time to stream out the handy truck tires on a 400 foot anchor line off our port stern. One is not enough – two works a treat and she tracks in a straight line and stop surfing into the hawsers. Life is good – we are moving South towards LAX.

Every thirty minutes we talk to the tug boat and 90% of the time all is well. It is now 2am and we are closing in on San Luis Obispo the wind has picked up and so have the seas. I am looking forward to anchoring as the ride has become a little more interesting. The maneuver we have to pull off has risks. The tug boat must slow down us and herself, we need to disconnect the bridle shackle, pull in our tyres, and side tie to the ocean tug. Then into the anchorage drop our anchor, set it using the tugs power and disconnect. All this with no steering or power of our own and add darkness.

I dial a bouy again on the mobile getting the wave data from Harvest and the wind data from Santa Barbara. The wind is hovering at 20 knots and the seas at 6-7 feet at 6 seconds. Back on the VHF to talk to JJ on the tug before we pull the plug and I miss my flight. Not only will I miss my flight but we are committing to $15k in costs to hold the tug in standby mode in San Luis Obispo plus another $5k in crew costs. The boat is still in great shape and she has coped well so far – the tyres are working a treat. The risk is being in conditions outside our insurance endorsement but do I fully trust the forecasts when real time is within the endorsement. Many decisions for 2am! I make a commitment. JJ can have us off Deception at 6am we are going for it.

The ride down the Santa Barbara channel was lively especially when we ended up side on to the swell to get into the traffic lane. I pulled rank on JJ and requested a change of course and to stay outside the lanes. We could do without waves breaking over the bimini. It was the right decision and we pulled it off arriving in Long Beach at 11pm Tuesday and were at the dock at midnight. Time to remove the insurance towing hawser, trash pumps and get our mast and boom cradles off of the tow vessel before they headed home.

Wednesday morning up bright and early to remove the boom and get the mast ready for removal. Thursday remove the mast at 110 feet she is a beast and it is much easier said than done. There is more hydraulic, electrical and electronics sprouting out the mast base than wiring in most people’s houses. Once it was out it became a bit of project to get her horizontal as she is so butt heavy but after a while she was in the cradle and we were stripping her halyards out. I had to leave the yard at 3pm my flight was at 5:45pm.

The week had flown by and I was on the plane bound for London to surprise my father. Every year for many years the five Perrin’s had sailed Santana (an Express 27) around the Isle Of Wight in the Round the Island Race. This tradition had fallen by the wayside when mum had a particularly bad bout of sea sickness and Daniel (my older brother) and I had moved to the US full time. Since then we had purchased a new Schumacher design a Capo 30 also called Santana. This year Dad’s health has been suffering and he now he only does one race a year on the boat – the Round the Island. So the idea took shape back in March – I called Daniel and asked him if he could take Friday off and fly from New Jersey to London.


Friday morning Dad still has no idea of our surprise. Myles (my little brother) is organizing the crew he told Dad he was bringing David (trim) and Anne (foredeck). Daniel and I are standing on the curbside at Heathrow and my mother arrives in her Fiat 500 to drive us down to Hamble. We get to the boat Dad is off somewhere and we hide down below. Dad’s rigger comes down below and is surprised by two random people sitting on the couch. Dad eventually gets to the boat we are covering our mouths from giggling so much. He walks into the companionway and looks down at us. Now if he had been a woman he would have screamed but Dad just got a big smile on his face and asked ‘what are you doing here?’. Well Dad this is David and I am Anne!

Needless to say we were jetlagged out of our mind. We had a 6am start so Daniel and I stayed on the boat and were still in our PJ’s as we came down Southampton water. Daniel did a great job seeing as he hasn’t sailed in 4 or 5 years on trim. Myles of course helmed superbly, Chris put us in the right place tactically, Dad continued to smile all day despite parental abuse from his kids, Neil did a great job trimming the main and I between sail changes had a nap behind my sunglasses. It was stunning weather for the UK with bright blue skis and sun and by 8:30am we were almost halfway through the race.

We took a pontoon in Cowes and met my mother for the obligatory fish and chips at Corrie’s cabin on Cowes High Street before loading the boat up and heading back to Hamble. Daniel and I retired for a nap below and did the clean up until 9pm. Up at 6:30am Sunday for a quick trip back to Heathrow and our flights back to the US for work on Monday. The result of 2nd in class and 51st out of 1459 was quite frankly icing on the cake. Dad’s email says it all

‘Thank You all so much for the greatest surprise! Starting with Friday night we had a great time and sat gave us a splendid result to share in my special year You are the greatest, I personally was so thrilled to be able to get around the island and with you all doing all the work I just needed to say I have a great family!’

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