Sailing Cape Horn: Ryan’s second month at sea

Tenacious sailing at sea
An image of the Tenacious sailing at sea

After a long first month at sea, our Youth Support Officer (and brave explorer) Ryan Honschooten is well on the way to reaching Cape Horn. Ryan set out on this 89-day voyage in January on board the Tenacious. A keen sailor, Ryan’s enjoying the 3-month journey living out one of his most desired dreams. We have gathered Ryan’s diary entries from his second month abroad. We hope you are enjoying following his adventure, stay tuned for more.

Tuesday 13 February

Got to bed at 1am after a lovely watch on deck. The stars were out, and we spotted a plane, two satellites and plenty of shooting stars. We were all glad we weren’t still at Point Nemo, where we would’ve been ducking the space garbage!

Wednesday 14 February

The skip has been rolling to alarming degrees. It’s incredibly taxing to move around the ship. I’m using muscles that I didn’t know existed. I took a tremendous fall (that was rather graceful) as I returned two empty cups to the mess kitchen. My feet hit a wet patch and I sailed down the deck on my behind, stopping when my foot hit the wall. I didn’t even drop the cups, and fortunately had a significant audience who were impressed with the effort, with a cheeky few asking me to do it again.

Friday 16 February

Today the Southern Ocean finally showed us who is boss out here. At 3:15am as the second teaspoon of instant coffee had hit my cup, I heard a cry of ‘all hands on deck!’ I had an idea that things weren’t right, the ship had been rolling savagely since I’d woken up an hour earlier. My crew raced around, scrambling to the top deck. And wow, the noise that reached our ears! The roar of the wind through the rigging was intense. We got the upper half of the sail furled, though the wind was far too strong to complete the job. Two mates were roused and sent up the rigging in semi-darkness, with rain and strong winds blowing a gale.

At 4:30am as I headed downstairs for my coffee, I was stopped by a sound, a terrible, screeching and roaring sound. The water tight door was flung open again as a desperate cry of “get the forcourse in NOW!!” followed. I dropped my cup to the floor, and raced upstairs with my 3 crewmates. Walking across the deck, a wave washed across and left me standing in water up to my waist. The wave continued down the deck and blew open a hole in the rail on the lower deck embarkation areas (it’s beyond repair). We now had an opening in the rail that anyone could fall through.

Large swell and rain kept us moist and cold, and the rest of the day stayed much the same. At 4pm however things started to get more aggressive again, both water tight doors had been closed and put out of limits. The rolling of the boat had increased even more.

By 7pm all hands were on deck, and a massive wave swamped the deck where we were all standing and knocked out the embarkation rail on the other side, now both rails were gone. We were concerned for one of the mates, as they were close to the opening – thankfully they did not go overboard.

Sitting in the bar reflecting on the day, it is certainly a step up from the voyage we have experienced so far. Tonight we are rolling around more than ever. I personally am loving it, this is what I came for. I worked hard to experience this, I am not afraid but inspired to embrace this, and enjoy and live in the moment.

Saturday 17 February

After the awesomely rough 48 hours yesterday, today we have experienced blissful calm. Strong winds and sun in the sky, everyone enjoyed a good night’s sleep and the jokes and laughter have returned.

Sunday 18 February

We are now approximately 300 miles from Cape Horn. It was exciting to pick up radar contact with another ship today, the first since leaving Auckland. A short radio chat took place.

Monday 19 February

Day 30 of sailing! The anticipation is building, we are approximately 70 miles off Chile and the closest we have been to land since the 27th Jan. We are sad however to be out of red wine, all fresh vegetables, frozen beans, pasta, yoghurt, crackers, and yeast and we have another 4 or 5 days sail. We are expected to round the horn tomorrow.

Tuesday 20 February

The elusive horn can be seen from the ship, but with calculations a bit off we are approximately 20 miles away. Waking this morning we were greeted by the sight of land – snow-capped mountains. The sea is a deep green compared to the blue we’ve previously had. We had a variety of sea birds buzzing around the ship, and dolphins have been gliding around us all morning, playing and frolicking around the ship.

Image of Ryan standing on a small ships bow, wearing a white outfit and dark blue vest.

Tuesday 20 February (2pm)

Cape Horn: a place of beauty, ruggedness, isolation, danger, strong winds, mixed currents, massive swell and a sailor’s grave yard (but not today!) As we sailed around the magnificent Cape Horn the swell was small and the sun was bright and warm. You couldn’t have ordered a more magical, memorable day. All of us were on deck with cameras, snapping and filming. Much fun and laughter all around, it’s somewhat hard to believe the stories you read but easy to imagine the powerful conditions that have haunted sailors for hundreds of years at the Horn.

Monday 26 February

A lot has happened since arriving in Port Stanley, in the Falklands on Friday. After we docked and cleared customs, we headed to a dinner at the Governor’s House. The crew has since disbanded, heading to accommodation dotted around the island. We have taken on so much fruit and veggies. We loaded this into the ship, including 220 packs of frozen peas (though we only ordered 40 – someone made a mistake!) We worked hard storing everything away. The new crew should join us today, I’m looking forward to it. I also plan to go and do a large pile of washing today, not looking so forward to that. We should be in port until Friday.

Wednesday 27 February

Currently very much missing the warm summer of Perth – it’s currently 13 degrees outside and raining! Not much happening at the moment, still docked at Port Stanley. It’s a strange place the Falklands, I’m reminded of Exmouth in WA. The environment is very bare with no trees. Low bushy scrub, lots of gravel and stones and it’s always windy. I went for a long walk around Stanley yesterday, dodging rain storms by hiding in shops and the seaman’s mission. I also had my first real coffee since leaving Auckland and wow it was fantastic!