Originally Posted by Nausikaa
Having worked, at sea, in the Antarctic region I beg to differ.
I have spent about 25 years of my life working at sea in almost all waters from from the far north (Spitzbergen) to the Antarctic (Marion Island, Gough Island, South Georgia and round Cape Horn) and I have never seen such huge seas as in the latitudes between 40 and 60 South. Without a lot of experience and an extremely sound vessel do not go there!
Cape Horn, incidentaly, is almost 56 South.
Aye // Stephen
Not really wanting to enter into a peeing contest here I must admit my small boat experience in those waters ( excluding Oz, inc Tasmania, and the Chilean channels) is limited to a single voyage NZ to Chile and only twice around the Horn in my boat ( I shall refrain from mentioning here that the last 20 years of my big ship seatime was all ( OK 98%) spent south of 40S) . As far as the Horn is concerned that was one E-W and one W-E rounding. On neither occasion was the swell over 1 metre. Take a look at my pic of the Horn on the Chile Wiki
. Running from NZ to Chile in the high 40s we had many days of 15 knot NW with less than 1 metre swell and had two 24 hour spinaker runs...
Yes we had some heavy weather, yes we had some big seas but the ***endless progression*** of mountainous seas in the 40s are a myth. From what some of the many skippers who go down to the Antarctic peninsula in yachts large and small on a regular basis ( the season is essentially December to Feb ) tell me ( I am based for much of the year in Pto Williams , just shy of 55 south... I do have a vague idea of the Horn's lat) it isn't constantly bad in the Drake although even at that time of year the odds are you will get hammered either coming or going.
Yes you would need a well found yacht and experience to do the run from NZ or Oz although in this regard the good Lord seems to look after fools and first trippers.
What I would not suggest to anyone is that they go from NZ or anywhere else direct to the horn. Reason being that off the west coast of Chile south of about 45 south you stand a very good chance of encountering a NWly gale blowing over a heavy SWly swell and that is where and how many boats doing that get into serious trouble. IMHO the only sensible way to go from S Pacific to S Atlantic in a yacht is to enter into Chile at Pto Montt and go down through the channels.