About our masts: it’s varnishing time

Our boat, in fact, has masts, in spite of the impression some might have been getting lately. It has two wooden masts (but it’s a yawl, so that’s one and a half, really). We lowered them to varnish them, six months back, and hold-ups happened and snows came. This was a problem in that varnish doesn’t set in such low temperatures. So we were mastless through the wintertime (we’d likely have been stuck here anyway). Did reduce the wind-in-the-rigging noise.

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Our new chart on our not-so-new table

Winter in the south ended outside work for a while, so I finished a less structural boat project lately, one started last winter but discontinued since. This was to draw a chart of the world onto our central wooden table, admittedly not the most essential project aboard Space Oddity. But it’s something which can be done while the snow’s blowing by, if made harder by the short hours of light in the day. And here’s the result finally.

The result: our table
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Boatwork in quarantine

When we bought Space Oddity we had plans to sail to Brazil and then haul the boat there, somewhere better equipped than here in the remote south of Chile; but it became clear we’d have to do something about the weeds on the bottom anyway, or we wouldn’t be travelling too speedily. We decided to haul in Puerto Williams eventually; then the start of lockdown shut down such ideas for a while. We were able to haul in late April, once restrictions had relaxed partially. This left the last of the early-autumn sunny days, after which the weather turned wintry.

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New year, new pets, same place…

Hatch of boat with Gean and Xoe

With the start of 2020, our arrival in the Cape Horn province, which was I think 6th of January, is now a year behind us already. We weren’t planning on spending so long here, but as we bought a rather dilapidated boat in a rather distant place, a lot of delay was always likely. Gean has some work restoring another yacht locally, so raising some rather necessary money. But of course repairs to our own boat have decreased in the meantime. Still the area’s a scenic one, if sometimes limited and chilly. Not bad till we can be off on our journey.

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Bible boat: Chilean-built tall ship Victory

Wreck of Williams

Bow of Chilean-built wooden boat Victory

Tied to the Ponton Micalvi, the stranded naval vessel that acts as dock in Puerto Williams, are boats of two varieties, all moored onto one another in rows with the last to arrive outside. There are the charterers, with their trips in the summer to Cape Horn or to Antarctica, and there are the cruisers, stopping for a few months at the tip of South America before they turn north from here. But one yacht’s never left Micalvi in the years we’ve known the place, innermost boat in the innermost row throughout that time, next to Micalvi with six visitors outside. An enormous wooden schooner with the paint lost from her planks long before, adding to her folkloric appearance. To port, the name on the bow was now incomplete. The starboard bow read ‘Victory’.

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The tale of a stove

Back in January, I wrote that we were about to buy our then-derelict boat to start our sailing journey. Four months later, the boat’s looking a lot better, though the sailing remains in the future. We’ll be forced to make our first excursion shortly, when our vessel’s import permit expires, which will require that it reenter Chile. So we’ll visit Argentina on the Beagle Channel’s opposite side.

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