National Geographic : 1933 Jan
THE CAPE HORN GRAIN-SHIP RACE © A. J. Villiers MAKING TIIE MAINSAIL FAST IN HEAVY WIND AND RAIN The canvas has been rolled up and the oilskinned boys are seen getting the gaskets round to make the sail fast. (Gaskets are pieces of rope which are wrapped tightly around the sail to keep it furled.) The boys are spread along the footrope, on which they always stand facing for ward, balanced over the yard. They soon learn to maintain this balance, even in a howling gale in the middle of the night, with the footrope slippery with ice and the ship rolling heavily. One slip, of course, and they would never again learn anything. It is unusual for a boy to fall from jobs of this kind; accidents are almost invariably due to carelessness or to bad gear. easterly than southeast, and we had to sail on by the wind, braced up on the starboard tack. From the latitude of Buenos Aires right to Falmouth Bay we did not make one sail fast, and for nearly the whole of that distance, except for working through the doldrums, we were on the starboard tack, which clearly indicates what kind of pas sage we had through the Atlantic. We came across the Line at noon on May 23, which was 67 days from Port Broughton and 30 days from Cape Horn. To sail from Port Broughton to the Line in 67 days was not so bad. This was one day better than we had made in the Her zogin Cecilie in 1928, when we were racing the Swedish four-masted bark Beatrice and beat her by three weeks, with a passage of 96 days.* But on that occasion we had negotiated the North Atlantic in April and had anchored in Falmouth Bay 28 *See, also, "Rounding the Horn in a Wind jammer," by A. J. Villiers, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for February, 1931. days from the Line; now we were to get through that ocean in June-a very dif ferent proposition. From Port Broughton to the Line our log showed us that we had made 10,617 miles. These were miles made; miles sailed would be a much greater total. Our average for that stage of the voyage was 155 miles a day; from Port Broughton to the Horn our daily average was 170. And then for the last stage, from the Line up, it was scarcely over the Ioo. HOPE FOR VICTORY WANES We began our passage of the North At lantic well enough, with only three or four days in the doldrums and then a good northeast trade; but then the trade left us on 20 north, when we might reasonably have expected it to deliver us at least to 30. From 20 north to Falmouth we had to make what way we could, and it was on that stage of the voyage that our hopes of making good time were quite broken down.