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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Marcy Exploring Chilean Channels

Marcy is pinned down at the moment. We are sharing a small cove with a Belgian sloop, neither of us wanting to move in the current weather. It's pouring rain and windy, and the wind is strong enough to make the next hop impractical. It's not a question of sailing or motoring, rather a question of motoring into strong wind, thus wasting fuel, or motoring efficiently in calm conditions. And it's all about conserving fuel because there are no opportunities to refuel in this area. The next available spot to refuel is over 400 miles away, miles of beautiful, wild, deserted and windy canals and narrow fiords. And we've already gone 125 miles since we refueled at Puerto Williams. Marcy has sailed the world for over three years without ever needing to augment the 70 gallons of diesel tankage we carry. In fact during our time in trade wind areas we have sometimes worried about not running the motor enough to keep the fuel fresh – diesel can go bad or grow slime with time. Solar panels and a wind/water powered generator take care of electrical needs without running the motor, and we enjoy sailing whenever possible, often sailing to and from anchor. But now we need to motor most of the time as here in the Chilean channels heading north as we are there are only two wind conditions we can expect– dead calm or gale on the nose!

To increase our range, about 360 miles in light conditions, we are now carrying diesel on deck in these extra containers:
a big orange bag on the cabin top, 120 liters
and a big blue drum in the cockpit, 200 liters
and 6 (!) jerry cans lashed to the rail, total 160 liters
We also consume diesel for heat – a Webasto furnace up forward, used mostly only to warm the boat up in the mornings, and a Sig drip stove in the saloon, which we are running day and night to combat the chill and damp.

When the weather breaks we will stow the spider web of shore lines that hold us in place, pull the two anchors we have run out, and motor onward. In the meantime we peer out the ports and admire the scenery we can make out between the sheets of rain – sheer cliffs, dramatic waterfalls, and thick mossy stunted forests. Every now and then a williwaw, or "racha"as it's called here in Chile, roars down the mountainside and blasts Marcy almost rail down. Yesterday we hiked around the area, squelching through bogs in rubber boots. Today we're thankful that we're snug and warm and content to go about cooking, reading, eating, yoga, and waiting for that break in the weather.

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