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Ciara, Katherine, Simon and Stu go south on Seal - February/March

So what's the trip about?

Well basically, we are going to sail from Chile to Antarctica, the idea being to spend about 3 weeks exploring the western side of the Antarctic peninsular.

We are meeting up with Kate and Hamish on board their yacht 'Seal' on the 5 th February in Puerto Williams, the most Southerly town in Chile.

We will get to know the yacht and how to live on board and sail her, before heading down the Beagle Channel.

The idea then is to choose our weather window before leaving South America and sailing south across the Drake Passage (the bit of the Southern Ocean between South America and Antarctica) The passage should take us about 3 or 4 days.

Once we make landfall in Antarctica, we will explore the coast and islands and get to see as much as we can in the time available. Kate and Hamish have been to Antarctica many times and they will recommend a route and suggest areas to explore once we get there.

Obviously weather conditions play a large part of any trip like this and there will be few changes to our plans along the way, but we all want to see as much of possible of the scenery, wildlife and environment.

Then of course we have to come home. Again it’s about a 3 to 4 day trip back north, maybe stopping at Cape Horn if the weather allows. We leave the boat on the 9 th March to fly back to the UK.

We plan to send updates to this site, including the odd picture when conditions allow – that’s the plan, but previous experience with satellite email systems tell us that this may not be straight forward so do bear with us. If it all goes pearshaped, we promise to put some stuff up when we return.

And you can track us! By visiting the tracking page, you should be able to get an idea of where we are, overlaid on a Google earth image.

About the yacht 'Seal'

Seal is Kate and Hamish’s wonderful expedition yacht.

Launched in September 2003, she is 56’ long and built from Aluminium. She is really built for high latitude sailing – with a lifting keel and rudder, simple, well thought out systems and all the high latitude ‘extras’ like through boat heating, workshop and line handling gear.

(c) Hamish Laird

She also has a raised deck house, incorporating the galley, navigation area and saloon – so you can see out when to navigate, cook or chill out.

Hamish and Kate have put years of practical experience into the design and fit out of Seal. Simple details like the easy wipe deckhead above the galley, the day tank that feeds the engine fuel by gravity and the custom drying rack for dishes are testament to the care and thought involved.

You can find out far more about ‘Seal’ including comprehensive photo galleries by visiting the website.

So what are we hoping to see?

Well allsorts of wonderful wildlife – from penguins to seals, to whale and albatross. We also look forward to seeing the pristine Antarctic environment, one of the few places on earth where mans impact is minimal.

We will bring you pictures as and when we take them.

More info on Antarctica?

Visit our links page













Trip and Seal facts

The total trip is 5 weeks long, starting on the 5th February 2007

Seal is a 56' aluminium cutter rigger yacht with a lifting keel and rudder

We should spend about 3 weeks in total on the Antarctic penisular

Seal draws less than a metre with her kell and rudder up

The Drake passage between Antarctica and South America is about 650 miles across

Seal weighs almost 25 tonnes