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Sheet Lanyards
Thu Apr 28 8:00:00 EDT 2016

Issuma has three stays (wires) ahead of the foremast (jib stay, forestay, inner forestay). These stays complicate tacking because the sheets (ropes attached to sails) get caught on the stays. A while back, my friend Maggie mentioned to me that traditional schooners with multiple jibs use lanyards between their sheets and the sails. So I tried it out on my forestaysail (shown), by putting eye splices in the sheets, and then tying the eyesplices to the sail with smaller ropes. The sheet lanyards worked pretty well (not 100%, but much better than just using bowlines), so I put some on the jib sheets as well. I don't think the length of the lanyards is very important, just that the knots & splices are some distance apart, so they don't all drag across the stay at close to the same time.

Sat Apr 30 9:05:47 EDT 2016 | george ray
Tell us about Namibia, please!
Mon May 2 0:55:45 EDT 2016 | george ray
and St. Helena
Catching up
Sat Apr 16 5:26:11 EDT 2016

I've gotten quite behind on my blog entries.

From Antarctica, we sailed to Cape Town, South Africa. Did a bunch of boat maintenance in Cape Town, then sailed north, to Luderitz, Namibia, which we are about to leave for points farther north.

Picture is of Issuma anchored near Carilni Base, King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.

Sat Apr 16 23:12:31 EDT 2016 | george ray
Wonderful, WOW!
Sun Apr 17 14:33:48 EDT 2016 | george ray
? Tristan da Cunha ?
Tue Apr 19 15:00:54 EDT 2016 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, George.
We were not able to stop at Tristan da Cunha.
Wed Apr 20 0:28:39 EDT 2016 | George Conk
Congratulations, Richard and crew your great accomplishment - sailing to Antarctica and safe return to Capetown.
It was the Shackleton Endurance voyage that first made me curious about the high latitudes. Did you get a glimpse of Elephant Island? South Georgia?
Would love to hear more about your track, conditions, etc. north from the South Shetlands.
Sun Apr 24 7:59:35 EDT 2016 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, George.
We anchored off Elephant Island to sit out a storm--something which I've been planning to post about but haven't gotten around to yet.
Carlini Base
Wed Apr 6 3:46:21 EDT 2016, Carlini

The mechanical workshop at Argentina's Carlini Base.

Fri Apr 8 6:53:08 EDT 2016 | george ray
? Whats with the seal, . . . just resting I hope ?
Fri Apr 8 14:21:20 EDT 2016 | Richard Hudson
Yes, it is just resting peacefully.
Winds and Coastlines
Fri Apr 1 2:37:44 EDT 2016, Maxwell Bay

Weather forecasts can be tricky sometimes. We were anchored peacefully where the black arrow is on the picture, with a moderate (20-25 knot) SSW wind forecast for the general area (I get these forecasts from Gridded Binary (GRIB) data from a US National Weather Service computer via email). I figured we would be well protected by the long island south of us (Ardley Island).

What I didn't think about was the possible effect on the wind that the shape of the bay we were in could have. As the wind steadily built, it moved to the ESE, from which we had no protection. While the anchor was holding, it might drag if the wind increased a lot (one always needs to think about what might happen if the wind is stronger than expected), and floating ice would then be blown towards where we were anchored. It was time to leave.

We raised anchor and motored out into a 25 knot headwind and choppy seas. Still surprised by the wind direction and increasing strength, I called up the nearby Chilean base on the VHF radio and asked if they had a forecast for Maxwell Bay.

They said yes, the wind forecast was for ESE to SE 40 knots. That would be a major problem to have stayed anchored where we were. It took several hours of motoring into the wind and seas to reach a bay on the eastern side, where we found a place to anchor near a glacier. At one point, we hit either a growler or an uncharted rock with the centerboard--the centerboard pivoted up and then broke the centerboard cable when it fell back down after passing over the obstruction. We replaced the centerboard cable later at anchor (this is not a big job, but it involves climbing into the narrow centerboard case to thread the new cable, which Sarah--who is thinner than I am--did).

Looking at the chart later, I began to understand why the SSW wind that I expected was actually a SE wind inside Maxwell Bay. The way I've drawn the arrows on the chart picture, it looks obvious, but it wasn't until I looked closely at the chart, and considered the height of the mountains (which deflected the wind, instead of letting it pass over), that I concluded the outside wind probably was a SSW and that it was deflected by the shape of the bay.

The Chilean forecast is probably available to vessels with Inmarsat C, but is not on NAVTEX (which Issuma can receive). I could receive the Chilean Antarctic forecasts via email from the internet, but only after a delay of 24 or more hours (for a 24-hour forecast). Later, I learned of a great Norwegian website ( that collects weather forecasts from various sources and makes them available (in a way that can be retrieved via email). I was then able to get China's forecasts for Maxwell Bay via email.

Sun Mar 27 15:44:14 EDT 2016, Maxwell Bay

Skuas are very aggressive birds. One attacked a plastic bag I had over a ventilator--I have no idea why it cared about the plastic bag, but it really wanted to rip it up.

Tue Mar 29 15:34:44 EDT 2016 | George Ott
Congrats!!! Haven't read the blog in a while... You've made it. Enjoyed the Deception Island pics... Brings back fond memories of swimming there... Brrrrrr... Have safe travels!
Fri Apr 1 2:42:39 EDT 2016 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, George. Despite the hot springs, swimming in Deception Island waters would be cold :)
Sun Mar 27 15:41:41 EDT 2016, Maxwell Bay

Thu Mar 17 2:11:39 EDT 2016

Jaroslav uses an interesting boat, named Mathilda, at his Eco-Nelson base. As I understand it, this type of boat is made in Czech Republic and is designed for carrying into remote areas for going down rivers. The tubes fully separate, and, when deflated, can be carried on shoulders.

Mathilda tends to be a wet ride, so not really comfortable in Antarctic waters, but it seems quite rugged and has been in use for many years.

Mon Mar 14 8:00:00 EDT 2016

While anchored in Maxwell Bay, in front of my friend Jaroslav Pavlicek's Eco-Nelson base, we suddenly had to leave when a wind shift put the nearby glacier upwind of us. This resulted in many growlers blowing over to us. We were anchored with one anchor and two shorelines, so it was not easy to avoid ice heading our way. We pushed this growler off our side, under the shorelines and away from the rudder, but it was clearly time to move.

One of our crew was ashore, and over a hill, so out of VHF radio range. With the crew that were aboard, we retrieved the shorelines, raised anchor, and motored away to the lee of a small island where we anchored until we could arrange to come back and pick up the remaining crew with the dinghy.

Ice makes anchoring more interesting.

Wed Mar 16 3:50:46 EDT 2016 | george ray
Wed Mar 9 8:00:00 EST 2016

Icebergs are quite picturesque on a sunny, light wind day. In fog, or at night, or in high winds, they are concerns to be avoided. While icebergs show up on radar, many smaller pieces of ice (growlers and brash ice in particular), don't. Most of the smaller pieces of ice that have split from an iceberg are found downwind of the iceberg. So, one generally tries to pass icebergs upwind.

Issuma's hull is strong enough to withstand some ice, but I'd rather not find out the hard way just how much it can take! The biggest danger from small pieces of ice is to the propellers, which are not protected. When motoring, if we can't avoid the ice (ie, there is enough of it that one can't go around it), I try and put the propellers in neutral when entering the ice and coast through--that way if they do hit the ice, they are closed (the propellers fold) and not spinning at speed.

Brash Ice
Mon Mar 7 8:00:00 EST 2016

Brash ice is the really small stuff that Issuma is going through here.

Mon Mar 7 13:02:55 EST 2016 | george ray
Can you speak about how you think about the hazard of ice for the propellers, the hull, and the possibility of being trapped. How has ice affected Issuma so far. Are there places you would like to go but do not because of the possibility of ice and if so what are those places.

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