Cape Horn rounding
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Easter Island, and boxhauling
N 27d 09.4'
W 109d 26.0'
distance to Cape Horn: 2510 nm
I'm now on Easter Island. People around here call it Rapa Nui, and
on the Chilean mainland it's called Isla de Pascua. I arrived last
night, and I'm now waiting for my ship to come in. Heh. Bark
"Europa" was originally to have arrived on October 16, but had to
divert because of weather between San Diego and here--something about
a typhoon. When I left Seattle, the latest prediction was October
19. Last night the guest house proprietor said it's now October 20.
At least it's realistic--it wouldn't be an authentic sailing trip if
everything went exactly according to schedule.
The Aloha Guest House is certainly a pleasant enough place to wait
for a ship. It's very nicely decorated, the rooms are immaculate,
the food and service are great, and the hosts are experts on the
island and terrifically friendly too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org,
if you're passing this way. I haven't done any serious statue
visiting yet, just a few near the town, but Ramon gave me an overview
of what I'll find at which sites, even telling me what time of day to
visit each for the best photographic light.
On my flight from Santiago was one of my prospective shipmates, a
Dutch pilot named Willem van Rijswijk. He's also staying at the
Aloha. Funnily enough, he's also a Patrick O'Brian fan--imagine that
on a tall ship expedition. While we were at the pub last night, we
had an interesting conversation about a bit of nautical terminology.
O'Brian makes reference at least once to a square rig maneuver called
"boxhauling". I had never understood what the maneuver is, or how or
why to do it. Willem explained that it's a K-shaped turn. While
sailing on a reach or closehauled, you turn head to wind as if to
tack, but instead you stay head to wind, with your squaresails aback.
Hold this orientation until you get sternway on, then apply rudder in
the opposite direction from your original turn, and finish the tack.
By boxhauling, you can tack in less space than a regular tack would
require, which would be very useful for tacking in restricted waters.
Why is it called "boxhauling"? There's a Dutch expression "bak
zeil", back sail, which means to renege on a promise; it sounds like
it also has the connotation of reneging surreptitiously or
indirectly, equivocating. I'm no linguist, but I'm certain that
"boxhauling" is derived from that Dutch expression.
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