ABOARD THE ALASKA EAGLE, off Cape Horn — We are anchored in Martial Cove on Herschel Island, just eight miles north of Cape Horn.
The wind is howling through the rigging at a steady 40 knots, with gusts up to 50 knots.
The Alaska Eagle is sailing back and forth on her tandem anchors and heeling over in the gusts. Sometimes a blast shakes the mast and the whole boat vibrates. Even in this well-protected cove, 2-foot foot waves are rolling past us, and the lead-gray sea is covered with streaks of white.
We departed Puerto Williams, Chile, on Sunday morning and began a fast sail down the Beagle Channel with a double-reefed mainsail and small jib top.
An hour later, the Argentinian navy closed the port at Ushuaia because of high winds. Puerto Williams closed soon afterward, as a new low-pressure system rolled eastward down the channel.
We wanted to get out and down to the Wollaston Islands before the ports closed. This would allow us to be at the Horn quickly and on our way when the weather moderated.