Lfo Penas to Puerto ipson

taction to the South ions

^speaking, travel in the region is restricted to i used by commercial traffic. However, in ^systems north of Magallan Straits it seems Dgnised that yachts will deviate from the rial route to explore glaciers. South of the Armada is more sensitive, partially ! of its responsibility to aid vessels in distress efore the need to know who is where, and because of its defence responsibilities. In ¡le Channel the Armada is particular that the that you intend to use are listed on the there are certain prohibited anchorages : Armada will not allow on a sarpe, though stood that in bad weather or an emergency may use any anchorage along their route. Yachts have been expelled from • using prohibited anchorages without good

(«said, there are certain channels, such as bara and Canal Acwalisnan, which are not jfcommercial route but are regularly used by i and quite frequently by yachts. It may be to use such channels if the zarpe is late about the matter but that is a matter ement on the spot. Descriptions are below, in case they come in handy. One |3& making a decision is that Chilean charts sto carry information about depths in such land if felt necessary, recourse has to be had j*©r US charts. In 1998, the prohibition on I Gabriel (between Seno Almirantazgo, a ach visited by cruise ships, and Canal a) was firm.

am reporting to lighthouses, call any ship net and request her to pass your PIM (see A) to the Armada. All ships have a Pilot |ually speaks English. The Armada also a number of observation posts in the canals which will call passing yachts ; information about the yacht's name, flag, of people on board etc. There are posts at

Timbales - Canal O'Brien; Punta Yamana - five miles to the east of Olla; Canal Murray - northern entrance; Isla Snipe; Cape Horn. The matter of reporting becomes more serious once the far south is rcached. A good station to report vour PIM to is Felix Radio, 4146 0kHz USB, between 0700-0800 and 1900-2000hrs; if you have not got HF, use VHF at those times whether or not you think you will be heard - some station may pass your message. Some yachts have found a log of their PIM calls helpful when queried by the Armada for failing to report.


See appendix F.


Kelp is both a blessing and a curse. It grows only on rocks and as such is a useful marker of danger and areas to be avoided both on passage and when anchoring (though the rock to which it is attached may be much deeper than the draft of the boat). It makes for poor holding. A machete is useful for cutting away bundles that come up on the anchor. Rowing through kelp is either difficult or impossible.

The weather

The first characteristic of the weather systems south of the Golfo de Penas is an almost continuous series of depressions that track from the west often moving east-south-east. Linked to them are fresh to strong winds, generally from a west to northwest direction. At 45°S, 20% of the winds are Force 7 or above, whilst below 50°S 30 - 40% of the winds are of this strength in the winter and spring, falling to about 30% in the summer and autumn.

The presence of the high mountains and deep fjords of the Chilean canals, which can cause violent eddies and produce unpredictable squalls or rachas, exacerbate these conditions. It is possible to be sailing in pleasant fresh breeze conditions and then encounter a full gale for a period. It is possible to see the wind churn up white water and it is sensible to reef at once. They tend to be stronger than expected. A day of 15 knot winds may well produce 40+knot winds for a period in such a squall. Narrow canals such as Seno Garibaldi can funnel winds

5.1 Puerto Escondido

5.4 Puerto Francisco

5.5 Caleta Austral

5.6 Caleta Feliz

5.7 Puerto Marina Jarpa

5.8 Caleta Tortel

5.9 Puerto Yungay

5.10 Puerto Contreras

5.11 Estero Montenegro

5.12 Puerto Cueri-Cueri

5.13 Caleta Ardevora

5.14 Caleta Hale

5.15 Puerto Island

5.16 Caleta Point Lay

5.17 Abra Cuthbert

5.18 Caleta Connor

5.19 White Kelp Bay

5.20 Caleta Ivonne

5.21 Seno Iceberg

5.22 Caleta Vittorio/ Bahía Halt

5.23 Puerto Gray

5.24 Caleta Hoskyn

5.26 Caleta Lucas

5.27 Puerto Simpson

5.9 Puerto Yungay is SE of Tortel

Golfo de Penas

Golfo de Penas

their entire length so that moderate wind "nditions elsewhere remain at gale force within jch a Seno.

However these conditions do not occur all the Sailing in the southern canals is not a ;ntinuous battle every day with violent winds. The %verage wind speeds published in the British ifjydrographic Office South American Pilot Volume 11 that at Cabo Riper, at the north end of the jgolfo de Penas average wind speeds are between 11 god 17 knots and surprisingly at Ushuaia are veen 3 and 10 knots. One of the windiest areas r at the western approach to Magallanes, where the -erage wind speeds are 15 to 18 knots. ' These lower than expected averages are as a result erf reasonable periods of light winds between lows. On many days it is necessary to motor perhaps with <jver 50% of journeys being made motoring or ■¿lotor sailing to make reasonable progress.

Linked with these lows are high levels of ecipitation, especially on the western side of the -des. The annual rainfall can be as high as 4000 (15 feet) on the west side of the Archipelago "though this falls progressively as the Andes are sscd to icach about 560 mm (ju5t over 2 feet) at

-tJshuaia. Snow can fall in any month but it is generally occurs between June and October. Even in the summer it is possible to have snow squalls on a bright sunny but cold day.

Average temperatures fall, not unexpectedly, as ae heads south. In January average temperatures at ¡.e northern end of this region, level with the Golfo 't Penas, are 13"C (55°F) whilst at Cabo de Hornos ' e average is 8°C (46°F). In the winter month of ily these averages have fallen 9°C (48°F) and 3°C ;(37°F) respectively. Perhaps surprisingly, in the light ,of these low average temperatures, with modern Polartec clothing and the comfort of a boat heater ¡whilst at anchor it is possible to avoid the npleasantness of being cold for most of the time.

One factor that can change these weather patterns, particularly in the summer months of December to February is the position of the semipermanent high centred at about 90°W in the Pacific. During the winter months its southern limit retreats north to about 30°S, leaving rain and windy conditions as the prevalent condition all the way to the north of Valdivia. However in the summer this high can extend down to the Golfo de Penas and south for extended periods. Occasionally this high may extend as far south as Cabo de Hornos. When these conditions occur winds tend to be light and sun cream is essential. Without sun cream the strong sun can cause unexpected sunburn. This is as a result of serious depletion of the ozone layer over Patagonia and down to the Antarctic. Temperatures can reach 25° or even a little higher in these conditions.

Fog is rare but squalls and low cloud can reduce visibility to very low levels.

The Armada transmits two surface analysis weather faxes daily, one in the morning and one in the evening plus a forecast in the evening.

Magallanes radio also issues a verbal forecast on 4146 USB at approximately 1130 local time. Both of these sources of information are useful. However, except when there is a large stationary high sitting over the area the specific interpretation of the weatherfax information is difficult. This becomes increasingly true the further south one travels, particularly in the area of Magallanes south. At the best this information protects the yachtsman from extreme weather. The low systems move and change so quickly that daily predictions and reality rarely coincide. In a day it is possible to have sunny weather, light and gale force winds, squalls and even snow. The weatherfax picture in the morning is already history by the time it is received and the pattern of the lows can have changed markedly a few hours later. Possibly the use of a barograph would give better warning of the rapidly changing systems when pressures changes, both up and down, quickly. In a word the daily weather is one of contrasts. The big plus is that there are many first rate anchorages in which to take shelter if the weather turns unpleasant.

Another factor to reckon with if cruising for an extended period ill the fai sumli is dial llie day rapidly shortens after mid-summer. Around 53°S, in January there are 16 or more hours of daylight. By mid-April it is down to 11 hours and by mid-June, 7 hours. To make the point another way, the distance that can be covered in daylight is about halved between summer and winter.

Three terms: ráfaga and racha (pronounced 'raka') both mean williwaw, or sudden and violent short-lived squall, usually without precipitation. Chubasco is a term used by the Armada and in other forecasts and refers to a frontal weather system when winds may increase sharply for a while. They usually bring precipitation.


Puerto Natales has good shore-side facilities but is well off the main routes. Ushuaia, in Argentina, is a better place to stock up than either Puerto Williams or Punta Arenas. If coming from the Atlantic and aiming at the Beagle Channel, it is worthwhile calling at Ushuaia and then back-tracking to Puerto Williams to enter Chile. If coming from the west, make sure that you clear out of Chile before entering Argentina. Those who are obliged to have a visa for Chile will heed a possible need for a multiple entry visa if calling at Ushuaia.


One characteristic of cruising in the south is that in general a very high proportion of the distance is made good under engine. After leaving Chiloé, the next fuel is about 1000 miles away unless a hefty premium is paid at Puerto Eden or a detour made to Chacabuco or Puerto Natales. It is worth carrying as much fuel as possible in cans as the cost of the cans is quickly recovered if set against the cost of fuel in remote places.

The Empresa Comercial y Agrícola can supply fuel at Puerto Edén and Puerto Williams. At Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas there are other sources and Ushuaia is also well supplied. At Puerto Edén, Puerto Williams or other remote places pnor notice may be necessary and fuel bought at such sites may be 50% more expensive than that bought in population centres.


After a cold, windy and wet day a heater provides a great deal of comfort and few boats cruise the area without one. Whilst there may be no problems with a blown heater, such as a Webasto, with other types the back-pressure in the chimney created by rachas may well put out the flame and with a drip-feed diesel type, such as a Dickinson or Reflex, fill the cabin with white diesel fumes. Standard chimneys such as the H type do not overcome the problem. One solution is to fit a domestic rotary chimney to the existing chimney pipe. These are available in Valdivia, Puerto Montt and Castro and can be adapted by the shop or by a workshop. The result may not be pleasing aesthetically but it works.


There are no large scale US charts covering this section. The small scale chart is 22395.

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