Another Outer Reef owner follows his dream to navigate the Mount Everest of boating.
Cape Horn doesn’t give a damn about your boat—or your dreams, for that matter.
While it still remains unquestionably challenging to navigate the Horn under sail, it’s a formidable accomplishment for any boat, under any power. The southerly headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Cape Horn marks the point at which the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet, which is what makes the passage so treacherous. Extreme low-pressure systems whirl across the sea, creating the dreaded williwaw winds. These gusts are sudden, unpredictable and frequent—and with bigger winds, come bigger waves. The old sailing saying, “below 40 degrees latitude, there is no law; below 50, there is no God” seems conceived by someone who bore witness to the awesome fury of Mother Nature in her chaotic domain.
Back in 2017, we reported on the story of Paul Hawran, an intrepid New Yorker who set out to test his limits on the other side of the world. Hawran completed his Cape Horn voyage aboard an Outer Reef 880 Cockpit, pushing past his comfort zone to enjoy the beautiful vistas of Patagonia with friends and family. Separated by more than 5,000 miles, Felipe Massú, a Chilean living in Santiago, had a similar dream. He made his goal a reality earlier this year, when he navigated his 2014 Outer Reef 700, Dogo’s Hideout, around the Horn.
“Years ago, I saw an Outer Reef 700 sailing in southern Chile. I enjoyed seeing how the boat sailed, and it met several requirements we were looking for in our new boat,” said Massú. “Our boat really behaves quite well in bad weather, and while it can move in extreme conditions, we have never felt that we lost control of the boat.”
Massú’s voyage took approximately 35 days, cruising from Puerto Montt, Chile, and finishing up in the windswept Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. With the help of an experienced captain, they stopped at least 13 times along the route, taking in “the indescribable landscapes.” The culmination was a singular magical moment, when the crew cruised in close proximity to some whales while disembarking from Cabo de Hornos.
To prepare, Massú reviewed the route in painstaking detail, including the possible bays where they could anchor in case Dogo’s Hideout was overcome by bad weather. In 2018, he had traveled more than 7,000 nm aboard his boat while making the trek from Seattle to Puerto Montt. Still, nothing could have prepared him for the delicate balancing act required to coordinate with fuel trucks—the only solution in some cities without the fixed infrastructure to support larger yachts—and docking at places exposed to high winds and waves. Said Massú, “One of my great challenges as a navigator was to have reached Cape Horn.” It’s easy to see why.
And yet, his favorite part of every day was to pause and enjoy special moments with family and friends. Next up, he plans to cruise to Robinson Crusoe Island (formerly known as Más a Tierra), which lies 362 nm west of San Antonio, Chile, in the South Pacific. Compared to the incredibly taxing challenge of Cape Horn, this next voyage should be a proverbial walk in the park.