My poco casa (little house) Southern Cross is located just north of Punta Arenas at the Nao Victoria Museum. Here aboard Southern Cross I am practicing my voyaging strategy, which is patience.
I could leave at any time but actually won't, to do so would be a fools errand. The normal here is happening for a few days, big winds! I have been tracking weather far to the west in the Southern Ocean and predicted a wild and wooly system would pass through, it's here with a vengeance. Last night the temperature dropped to 41F and the wind kicked in. During the night it blew up to over 40 knots and is sticking in for the next three days. It's a big low out of the Roaring Forties and I plan to ride the back side of it out of here. There is a significant window of opportunity coming. As much as I'd like to report that I have set out I haven't and won't until I know it's right.

There has been pressure all along through this project from some folks who want derring-do, thats not me. As strange as it sounds from someone who purposely and knowingly returned to voyage in the roughest place in the world I have no interest in war stories. War stories from the water may be entertaining but they typically mean someone was unprepared, not skilled enough or there was gear failure. I know my boat, I know my skill limitations and I know a little of this place. So I practice patience and I haven't even set sail yet. Its coming and when the day arrives I will march to only my drummer and no other. I long for a great experience and that does not include too much drama. I know know the formula, no conflict equals no drama and no drama means boring. There will be ample left hooks coming my way given the place.

Punta Arenas
A few photos of note:

Where I am currently living..........yes in the tiny boat in the estuary, staged and waiting. Last night it blew up big and I had a lovely warm night aboard sorting gear, reading and falling to sleep with the 40 knot blow whistling through the rigging of the Nao Victoria, HMS Beagle, James Card and the Ancud. Rain added to the mix, not a bad symphony to fall asleep to. Today is bright, cold and even windier.

John camera in hand making his film Below 40 South
 It was from here that Robert Falcon Scott mailed 400 letters from his team before heading south to Antarctica. This spot is adjacent to the Hotel Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn Hotel), which has been my office for several weeks
 Right around the corner from the Hotel Cabo de Hornos is the upstairs room where in 1916 polar explorer and leader of men Ernest Shackleton planned the rescue of his men from Elephant Island. 
The Imperial Transantarctic Expedition of 1914 included tow ships the Endurance and the Aurora. Shackleton was to enter the Weddell Sea leading Endurance. The Aurora entered McCurdo Sound to await Shackletons 2,900km trek. The Endurance became ice bound and after 9 months was crushed leading to perhaps the greatest feat of leadership to date by any man. Shackleton realizing all was lost set out on a desperate voyage with five of his men making S Georgia where they then crossed the island to a Norwegian whaling statin and communication ability. 
I consider this voyage aboard the James Caird to be the greatest sea voyage in history only rivaled by Captain Bligh's open boat voyage after the mutiny on the bounty.
The small cargo ship Yelcho set out from Punta Arenas and crossed the treacherous Drake Passage to make the rescue thanks to Capitan Luis Alberto Pardo Villain and Shackleton.
This humble building above the History Coffee Shop was also used by Shackleton and his men to organize the rescue.

My Voyaging Strategy

Patience! This is the key to sailing successfully in this part of the world for any vessel including my little one. So what does one do during long periods of waiting? Good question and a lesson I learned from my last voyage far south of here in a single Klepper sailing canoe. Have things to do to pass the time. Last round I had so little room and brought only two books. On the tenth day of that voyage I set a cache at Bahia Scourfield in order to lighten my boat and make a run for Cape Horn. I fully intended to return to get the cache. I cached food, three cassette tapes (Mozart, Beethoven and a mix of Hendrix, the Birds and others) and my two books buried in a backpack wrapped in heavy plastic. I never made it back due to weather and had nothing to read or occupy my mind with for the months ahead. Tent bound for twenty of my first twenty one days made for some serious wonder based on boredom all exacerbated by howling winds, snow squalls and rain.

Bahia Scourfield (65 knots)

This time I have a shorter boat but one with greater capacity and so I have diversions. Three penny whistles, two harmonicas, drawing pencils and notebooks, wood carving knives, language courses and books. My friend Keith Nasman emailed that he was curious what is in the library of this small boat voyager so here is the list. First books in print and then a list of electronic reads.

Printed books (the best)
Great Works of Conrad
True Tales of Hawaii
Les Miserables
The Collected Works of John Cheever
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Rounding The Horn
The Miniature Forests of Cape Horn
Sailing Alone Around The World- Slocum
Shadow Country
The Yiddish Policemans Union
Crime and Punishment
The Best Travel Writing of 2012
The Maltese Falcon
The Blue of Capricorn
True Tales of the South Seas
Spanish Language Course
Japanese Language Course

The Martian
The Worst Journey In the World
Tales of the New World
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Open Boat Across the Pacific
Wind, Sand and Stars
The Billionaire and the Mechanic

Audio Books
Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil
Lonesome Dove
Invisible Man
Born to Run
Failure Is Not An Option
The Alchemist
The Rise and Fall of the Third reich
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Enchanted Collection
The Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Boys in the Boat
Basic Training
Command and Control
The Things They Carried
Robinson Crusoe
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
The Three Musketeers
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Boys of Everest
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Heart of Darkness
A Man on the Moon
The Caine Mutiny
The Aviators
In Cold Blood
The Wind in the Willows
The Wright Brothers
Helter Skelter
Steve Jobs
Seven Years in Tibet

Back To Strategy
In a nutshell- Patience and the wisdom to never set out in unknown or marginal conditions. This said I know my boat and skill set and will inevitably sail in high winds, thats the world here. What I will try to avoid are building conditions. I have a high quality barometer with me and am logging changes in my ships log. I also know it is best to sail on the slack tides here and early mornings/nights when winds are a little lighter. With this in mind I have packed in 14 different headlamps and flashlights and batteries to last for months.

The next piece of my strategy is routine and personal hygiene. I know a little about solo sailing and the most important element is attitude. I am using my days as I wait for a weather window to get into a routine. I try to sleep a set number of hours, get up put my bed roll away. Heat water for morning coffee, grind beans, make a cup as I prepare breakfast. After cleaning dishes and cockpit I will practice good personal hygiene. This might sound odd but it is so important for morale.

Sailing solo means it is easy to spin up a dwindling positive attitude. Before one knows it daily living routine slips, lethargy can set in and lethargy can spell trouble. Trouble can manifest itself as poor decision making, impatience, lack of maintenance on the boat etc. Best to have a routine of sorts and to keep the mind fresh.

The next piece of my strategy is science. I am not a scientist in the trained or classic sense but have consulted with friends who are (Melissa, Skip and Mara) and am going to use my time when at anchor to not only explore but to learn from observation. This is why I am carrying the book, 'The Miniature Forests of Cape Horn."

I am also cataloguing the places I visit with the Yaghan in mind. The last time I voyaged here I inevitably ended up in the very places the Yaghan made camp. I would find shelter remnants, shell middens and this time I am going to film these fascinating places. I am also hoping to visit some of the anchorages used by the HMS Beagle and record what I see there.

I am carrying a sat phone and in the run up to my voyage have been working with two schools and a home school group delivering classroom lessons covering aspects of my voyage. I am really excited about this aspect of what I am doing as I am a former college professor and now the impact I might have on the lives of 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. I was influenced by my 5th grade teacher long ago. Mrs. Craigen. I can hardly remember the names of the many teachers I had but I vividly remember her and how she excited my mind and taught me that to reach for the sky is a good thing, to think in new ways is a good thing, to not listen to all those who would come into my life telling me I couldn't or shouldn't. She taught me to put fear of failure aside and fail like crazy as in failure the best lessons are had! I am thrileld to be teaching live stream with the three school groups.

The Voyage of a Little Ship and Her Best Friend
A larger vision for my voyage has come to me and with a group of talented friends we are working to bring the Voyage of Southern Cross to thousands of school kids around the world. This is something I will be occupying my days with as I wait out conditions and look forward to my return and the next voyage. Stay tuned as we develop the concept and implement it. Glad to have a slid development team working on this vision while I am out of touch.

Below 40 South
I am also filming for the film "Below 40 South" an independent film endeavor by my fiends Dave Nichols and John Welsford. This will also take time and effort and I am doing my part to help them with their vision of producing a credible small boat voyaging documentary. The film is theirs in spite of my being offered a stake in ownership. I couldn't as I am not sailing for profit, I have no profit motive and to this end have stayed away from sponsorship offers.

However I have accepted gifts from friends and am so grateful for the help. At first I found this difficult until my pal Bob Miller cuffed me about a bit;-) and told me to wake up, friends want to help friends. Funny as I have always fancied myself the friend you want as I always try to help others.

I am sure I have missed some names here and will compile and publish a full list of friends who have had a hand in my voyage preparations. It's an amazing list of friends who have helped launch a true friend ship, Southern Cross!

Bob Pattison- Gave me a set of excellent sails made by Neal Pryde. An amazing gift even though I tried to pay him for them. I sent him my drawings and he and I collaborated with input from John Welsford and the Pryde work is perfect. I have along history with Neal Pryde from my years working in the boardsailing industry as the Mistral race team manager and North American Sports Promotions Director. Great gear!
Chuck Leinweber- Beach rollers and fittings I purchased that he would not accept payment for. Thank you Chuck and Thank you Duckworks!!
Josh Colvin- A fantastic Ocean Rodeo dry suit. Thank you again Josh!
Bob Miller- In Reach Delorme tracking device. Thanks Bob!
Dale Simonson, Keith Nasman and Derek Gries- A fine tiller blank from which I made my tiller!
Will Hazel- Who carved the tiller grip and made another device for my boat.
Marty Worline and Dave Chase- A great shipping crate/workshop.
Terry Carolan- Gave me shop space to to part of my build. Thanks Terry.
John Welsford- Friendship and hard work.
Dave and Chris Mergener- A fine place to work and so much more!
The Ortiz Family- The best part of their involvement is friendship.
Sofia Ortiz- She has been such an integral part of getting my boat through Chilean customs and so much more.
Ximena Soto- Thanks!
The Hostal Willitu crew-Thanks
and most importantly of all- My lovely wife Keiko!!

Update from Punta Arenas
Last night I spent my first night aboard Southern Cross since her arrival here in Chile. It was better than could be. Outside the air temperature was snap cold but inside of her low profile tent was snug and warm. She is staged at the Nao Victoria Museo in Punta Arenas a place of amazement to many yet unknown around the world. 

The museum has invited me to stage for my final preparations to voyage and I am glad to be there, honored actually. They seem as excited to have me as I am to be there in the shadow of so many famous ships. Punta Arenas is a old port city and the embarkation point for many significant voyages south and to the ice of Antarctica. Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen and many others began right here. Of course Magellan, Drake, Fitzroy/Darwin also stopped here before there was a Punta Arenas.

The Mast Build
My project has gone along very smoothly although slowly stretching out to over five years. Work and life dictated how fast I could go. It has also been a challenge affording everything, it costs a bunch to build a boat, equip it and ship it to Patagonia. But dreams are dreams and I believe in living life to the fullest so I kept going in spite of all odds. I am not the chest beating seek sponsorship type for this kind of endeavor. This is a personal voyage and one I don't find particularly worthy from a marketing and promotions view. To me it is just another small boat voyage I am on and not much more than that. I have come to realize that it seems to mean something to others as an inspiration piece and that's begun to make sense to me. I get it as I have been inspired by many others in my life beginning with Robert Many. 

So I made a big error the day before my boat shipped from Michigan and had to go into full on ad lib mode to solve the problem. I accidentally drove over my mizzen mast and crushed it, oops hardly does justice to the moment. In any case I managed to collect a few bare essential materials and in the shipping crate they went. I made the truck the next day with 30 minutes to spare.

Here in Patagonia Chile John my pal and I have built a mast in the open and partially (one half day) in a small shed on the shore of the Strait of Magellan, a shed which produced a full size HMS Beagle, James Caird, Ancud and Nao Victoria amongst other boats. 
Hull model of the HMS Beagle in the shed that built her. My new mizzen mast is sticking out of the door. I rented a power plane to do the initial shaping. John and I figure we built the mast to paint, varnish and hardware in 7 man hours! Not bad for cutting wood in the open rain, shine and really cold weather.

Living Large, err Small
I moved aboard last night and had a lovely night of it as the cold west wind blew. In the low profile high wind tent with padded seats and floor I was toasty warm and fell asleep to the tap tap tap of wavelets kissing the hull. I slept soundly but lightly as I always do on small boats and awoke to early morning birds calling to each other. It was a bright sunny morning and very cold. I sorted gear, restored some items according to my stowage map and then drove to the hotel where John is staying. Punta Arenas is a tough town to find an early breakfast in and Sundays are no exception. We found ourselves back at our usual haunt the Hotel Cabo de Hornos (Hotel Cape Horn) adjacent to the spot where Robert falcon Scott mailed his final packet of letters before going to Antarctica where he perished after making the South Pole. Punta Arenas is steeped in history.

I began final rigging but ran out of time and will finish up tomorrow. I have a few minor elements to complete on the new mizzen mast and a short list of "To Do" projects including final provisions of fresh vegetables and fruit. Then it's all about picking the right weather window. I will be adding consumable stores for the few days I will likely have to wait for the right window so I am not cutting into my 3 month food supply. 

First Challenge
My first challenge will be to hit the early morning high tide just right as the exit from the small estuary where I am moored is not navigable except for a precious few minutes at high tide, which will be very early. If need be I can implement my beach strategy and raise the boat onto air rollers for the last few feet, it's going to be a challenge. Picking the right weather window means everything every day. If I mess up I can be stranded out with no option but to shorten (reef) sail and hope to make shelter somewhere. I have a few options as I head south down the Brunswick Peninsula but none are really good until Puerto del Hambre and that is a stretch for one day but I plan to go for it, no choice really as all coast line south is full exposure except for a few river entrances, which can be treacherous if it blows up.
I'll pass this Cape Horn clipper wreck on the way south out of Punta Arenas
In the background you can see the narrow and dry at any tide other than the "high" high exit from the estuary. Punta Arenas is no place for a yacht or sailboat of any size there is virtually no protection. This little creek at the Museo Nao Victoria is it!

A small fishing village just north of Puerto del Hambre. Not much protection here but I may have to stop and make a go of it given the frequency of high winds.
We scouted south in December (Pals Dr Phil McGowin, John Welsford, Denny McNae and David Nichols. This is the chapel in the tiny fishing village north of Puerto del Hambre. This is Phil (aka Gadget!)
The last bit of civilization I will see before hitting Cabo Froward and south. Two houses, a Carbinero station and a fleet of fishing (Centolla) boats post season. The Centolla season closed on November 30th and the fleet is in for repairs, rest and awaiting the next season. This means the waters south of Punta Arenas will be particularly empty. I will hopefully be here for a night but could end up hiding out due to high winds, we'll see. The last time I sailed the Beagle Channel and south I was tent bound for twenty of the first twenty one days of the journey. The winds blew in excess of 70 knots at times, these were hard days. Patience is the key down here and for this voyage I have a significant library, musical instruments, two language courses, drawing course and audio books.

Build a Boat, Build a Life
Happy New Year!
New Years eve was another magical Chilean experience and one I will not soon forget. John and I were hosted in the home of our Argentinean friend Mauricio Archinti along with his mother and son. What a night. We had a lovely evening with a midnight dinner together, great time. They had stopped by earlier to look at my boat, which has not yet launched but should on Tuesday if the truck I am hiring is free. Mauricio is a friend we met last February who owns the El Bodegon restaurant and who offered to store my shipping crate while I voyage. The hospitality of the people here is legendary, they are warm, engaging and wiling to meet foreigners. Viva Chile!

Yesterday was another day of meeting new people. An American sailor stopped by to see the boat and meet me. He is sailing an Ingrid 38 and we spied him about two weeks ago anchored off of Punta Arenas in the Strait of Magellan. I noted his boat as it is very rare to see a yacht here as there is no harbor and the weather is generally rather treacherous. One day while in town we spotted his dinghy on the beach and I left him a note asking if he had come from the south (where I am headed) as I thought it might be good to talk. I always look for information opportunities. He has been sailing solo for the past 6 years and has been as far west from here as Cape Town and has bounced through a number of Pacific islands. He came here from Argentina and headed south the day before last weeks big blow of 60 knots. He tried to round Cape Froward and was hammered by waves and wind (not even the big blow just Cape Froward) and ended up seeking anchorage off of Froward.

He had an issue radioing the Armada (two day radio checks are required here) and after two days they sent a search plane to find him. Finally they raised him and he was ordered back to Punta to explain why he had not maintained radio contact, a communication snafu for sure.

He stopped by when I was out yesterday and when I came back he and John were talking next to my boat. They came into our hotel room and we offered him breakfast and sat for about two hours talking. I asked why he had come so far and was not sailing south to the good stuff, Beagle Channel, glaciers, etc. He was emphatic that it was sheer madness to do so in a large boat and I had to agree. The poor guy was pretty freaked out by the conditions here and wanted to get west and north as soon as possible. He asked for advice on weather windows, strategy for getting south and north in the west arm of the Strait of Magellan and I gave what I knew. I have been tracking weather daily and he was relieved to hear my observations. We both felt for this guy, alone in a big boat in such a place. He got my boat in spades and agreed it would be the way to go here. He anchors out in true terror, me I can chose to anchor, tie off to shore or even pull my boat on to shore for safety. He unfortunately seemed scared and kind of oblivious to the power of the environment here and this after 6 years of solo sailing. I suggested he had a two day window before the next low rumbles through from the west and yesterday we spied him motoring south to hide out at Dawson Island, a very smart move.

So back to "Build a Boat, Build a Life."

Here is my boat very early in its life. Next to it is my friend Marty Worlines soon to be "Fat Bottom Girl" (love that name).