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Pat Lawless Solo Circumnavigator


Coast South America

The Los Perlos.

So now I have all prep finished, and ready to sail, wind still northerly and fresh, but bay looks promising. Will be hot though as we are back to blue skies. Jannie was just on and we up anchor at 09.00h. So I will put on my kettle for another pot of tea. Had an earlier breakfast of boiled egg, a nice fresh one.


Departed Isla Pedro Gonz’, 09.20h, in a fresh northerly wind, which if anything got fresher. So kept on port track which brought us into the lee of “Isla Vivietida”, where I anchored at 12.20h. Etianne followed me in at 12.45h. Took a video shot of it, and found when tape ran out, that it was the last one, so we have enough of the Los Perlos Islas anyway, and I may get more tapes at next island where diesel and water is available, if not Tobago island.


Wind easing somewhat, hot and dry all day with wind. A day for getting burned. Sun since morning and clear skies. Barometer falling to normal, 1012MB.

Wed 13th Mar. 7 days in the Los Perlos Islas.


Isla Vinietida proved to be the most sheltered anchored yet in the Islas with hardly a swell. Even with strong gusts of yesterday. So I am just after rising, and making a pot of tea and thinking of leaving with daylight, or at 06.30h, to catch the last half flood tide to Isla Contadora, now only 11NM.


Steered for 2 hours and hot in sun, engine in neutral as batteries need charging as I had navigation lights on at night since departure bar last night, as I did not want to run battery flat. Still no sign of wind and I doubt we will get any for some hours.


Just finished lunch of yesterday’s cold boiled spuds and onions with salad cream and salami and with diluted bottled orange juice (acid). Breeze though light has steadied from S.S.W. We shall see. Too light for engine steering as it is on our port quarter. So now I will have fag and read for a while. Sun is nearly at it tops.


Light genoa to a W.S.W breeze. Temperature 80deg in cabin.


Up main. Breeze just abaft the beam. 6kn. Amazing what you can do in fairly smooth seas, with a breeze.


Poled w/jib to port. Found mildew on second last loaf of broad bread but not bad, so cut it off. Having last of yesterday’s cold spuds with tomatoes for tea. Was going to have paté with it but it smelled bad. This morning saw the biggest dolphins ever, so many. One big fellow at least 8’ to 10’ came out of the water and crashed down on his side alongside us. They came and went fast, and were wide ranging. Sun all day.


Down main.


Down port jib.


Down genoa and becalmed. Sundown.

3.1.96. Wednesday Day 6.

Set genoa to a light sea breeze 2.5KN. Sun rose red 06.50h. Great night’s sleep. Had not to get up once. Can see dark outlines land where sky is clear at 25NM. Genoa giving odd bang.


Becalmed. Ran engine for one hour.


Still no wind. Sun out since 10.30h. Having a tin of oz prawns, and tomatoes with bread and fruit juice drink. Ship on E. horizon going S.


Up genoa to S.W. breeze 3k. Also poled w/jib to port.


Shop to port going N. Continuous sun. Pacific a bottle green. Breeze steady now with small whitecaps 5KN. Great.


Changed genoa for w/jib. Nellie slipped, seas built up and we were surfing at 7KN. Now down to 6KN.

4.1.96 Thursday Day 7

Hit the bunk at 23.00h and woke at 01.15h and as sleep would not come, got up. Had a bow of weetabix and did my sums and 129BM to Iquique. Now 02.00h and speed down to 4.5kn as wind has eased.


97NM to Iquique.  Wind held during night 5KN. Now 73deg F. Must tighten st/gland. Wind S since 02.00h.




Ship to starboard going S. Wind ease 3KN.



5.1.96 Friday Day 8

Radar alarm bleeped for south bound ship on horizon, so there went my sleep. Headed other half of tin of spaghetti I had for dinner with 3 slates (rye vita). I opened today also as bread was mouldy. 65NM to Iquique. Does not look if we will make it today before daylight. Voice awakened me and I found a Chilean fishing boat, wooden and with a long walkout, circling me, from Iquique. Said what few words I could. A big fat guy with a hate was up on top at the controls, and three other crew n deck. Still no wind. Had a good sleep, if interrupted. Woke to alarm clock at 06.00h and with daylight at 07.00, and turned off navigation lights. Did not feel hungry this morning, so at 09.20h, I am after a cup of coffee, and one slate with margarine and jam. Must write letters to Nance, Dan and Christy today for posting in Iquique. 42NM. Tomatoes are holding surprisingly well considering I bought them even though green on Boxing Day. Had my second last NZ onion with a tomato and egg salad with salami, and it is a year old. Have light w/jibs up to a light wind which is holding since 14.15h. Now 15.25h, which is give us 2.5 knots. Let us hope it holds.


A breeze came up at 14.15h and though light is still with us. Sundown at 20.30h should tell a tall ship going S inside me. Radar alarm spotted it on horizon. Believe it or not this afternoon I heard a bumping and when I looked out we were sailing alongside a string of net corks, one of which fouled the rudder of Nellie, which I disengaged with the boat hook. Luckily it escaped the prop.


Sails giving odd flap (poled w/job and light genoa). Had to drop port w/job as wind swung and was pushing inshore. Doing 3KN under genoa. Becalmed yesterday evening at 21.30h, 45HM to Iquique. Engine for 2 hours.


Set alarm clock and engined 05.00h – 07.00h. Having a breakfast now after a doss of 1h. Iquique 25NM. Ran engine again for 2hours.

09.15 – 11.15h

15 NM to Iquique and 9NM offshore. Still becalmed and sky now cloudless. Engine 14.10h to 17.15h and arrive Iquique on a mooring off yachtclub.


Arrive Iquique.

12 days in Iquique

18.1.96 Thursday – Depart Iquique


Under Engine. Flat calm.


Up Genoa to light southerly breeze. 68deg F. (sun up 07.30h)


Off engine. 17M offshore and up mizzen st/sle 3.5kn.


Contacted Iquique radio and advised I had departed and gave my position.


Up w/jib to port and poled.


Down mizzen. 4.5KN.


Down w/jib 82deg F. Up main wind S.W 5.5kn. 5KN. Wind easing (56NM for 12 hours at 18.00h).




6KN. Great progress.


Down main.

19.1.96 Day 1 Friday


75deg F. Dropped main at 00.10h and I thought I would be dropping genoa before long, but no, we are doing over 3 KN, though it is giving od bang as we roll to swells.


Having the first gasper of the day after a cocoa and a slice of bread and butter and jam. Speed down to 2.5KN, but Genoa is not flapping as much due to sea state leveling off after yesterday’s fresh breeze and also swells are more astern as I put us on a more N.M heading. Do not feel sleepy after 4 hours of bunk, will read for a while, woke at 07.15h to radar alarm. Ship going S.E to starboard. So set w/jib and doing 4 KN, breeze S.S.W. A few high clouds today, but sun for das. Had half an avocado with 2 slices bread and butter for breakfast. Not too keen on them, but they are a change from tomatoes and last well, and I presume are good for one, and better than jam. Great that wind held overnight, even if at 02.00h it looked dicey. Average temperature at night and early morning in Iquique was 64 deg last night and this morning 75deg.


5 K.N. Clouds now burned off, and blue sky.


Settling in well to sea life again and after yesterday’s early start, meal times are today back to normal. Just had my eleven’s, tea and tomato sandwich. If this wind is par for the course we should make a fast passage. Temperature 82 deg already. I imagined it would be cooler at sea with the sea breezes, and even though we are progressing towards the equator, we are only a little over 100NM N of Iquique.


85 deg F now. Had a salad lunch of salami, lettuce, avocado, toms and beetroot with bread and butter, and now having a coffee with a spoon of honey and milk, which is too hot and making me sweat, so I will let it cool. I don’t use sugar since I left Coquimbo as it is not good in this climate. But I seldom have coffee, so today I used honey as I found coffee bitter without something sweet in it.


A steady breeze al day with speed 3-4KN, 48NM for 12 hours since 06.00h. Had not to touch sails since I hoisted w/jib at 07.45h. A big difference from yesterday when I hauled sails 8 times in different wind strengths and directions.

20.1.96. Saturday. Day 2.


Hit the bunk at 22.30 with genoa giving odd flap, and slept until now, and we are doing 4kn to a steady breeze. At 06.00h, 90M for days run, a total of 191 for 2 days, great. Rolling down to a minimum with gentle breezes of past 24 ours. If these conditions hold we will make Manta in 16 days, and allowing a stay of a week, allows 17 days of Feb to reach and transit the canal. Which then allows 6 months to reach Ireland before the end of Aug. We shall see. Shop to starboard bound, Iquique and will report me to Arica.


Was in the bunk for only a half hour when radar alarm woke me and I went back to the bunk, and now woke to different motion and found the wind had swung to the East. So I will stay up and greet the dawn at 07.30h. Glad I spoke ship as Iquique asked me to call Arica when passing, but I could not reach them. Different sky this morning. A lot of stratus clouds to East, blocking the dawn sun. Temperature 75 deg. The morning and evenings are pleasant. Opened my first tin yesterday evening for a change, marisco Pate, and had it just now on toast with mayonnaise. So I have a new ashtray. Had it for tea last evening, as I don’t like to have a tin open by day due to heat.


Change w/jib to port for Genoa, as E. by S. wind is holding and the wind now on our starboard quarter. The starboard genoa is not pulling its full weight. 5KN.


Clouds burned off, sunny, 80deg F. Dropped starboard genoa and hoisted Main. Wind went to the E and we have it just abaft the beam on a heading of 330. 5KN.


Wind now S.E. Hoisted starboard genoa again. So we have twin genoas poled and full main. 5.5KN. Position 17deg33’ S. 73deg 06’ W. Course 320deg M.


Dropped main. Wind swinging south. 5KN. 17.00h. Wind now southerly. Still 6KN. Passed darkist water covering acres for at least a half an hour. Not oil. Probably water ballast pumped in some muddy river.


Speed down to 3.8KN. 17deg 19’ S. 73deg 26’ W. 23.00h. 17deg 13’ S 70deg 39’ W. Breeze eased at sundown (20.30h) but picked up again, and Genoas are filling well. 3.8KN. Very few birds since Iquique.

21.1.96. Saturday. Day 3.


Up since 07.15h. Best sleep this trip. Woke at 24.00h and 03.30h. Wind held, and direction also, so no hassle there. Before I rose Genoas were complaining, but with sunup they seem be quieter. The sun rises red here all the time, which would frighten the living shite out of you in the Southern Ocean. I notice at sunset the wind eases, and after sunup increases again, so far anyways. Good to have wind however light, 3KN, speed 120NM for 30h. An average of 4KN for 24 hours. 287 NM for 3 days and 5h or an average of 96NM per day. If we keep this up another 12 days to Manta, or a total of 15 days. Must put on my shorts, and take off track suit pants and shirt. Temperature 76 deg and put on my sun cream and lip cream. Must write a few letters to day, have been mostly reading so far, if not cooking, eating, navigating, or sail changing etc. 60NM off Peru.


Just written to Charlie Haughey. Wind so far did not strengthen, so still plodding along. Windward genoa giving odd yowl. Must make an elevens at ten.


Wind went N.E and light, so dropped starboard genoa and unpoled port one, with wind abeam, and we are barely moving. Wind steadied so hoisted main starboard poled genoa and dropped main 3.2KN.


Wind gone to the N.E. again, so down starboard genoa and up mizzen st/sle. Twice wind shifted today from S.E. to N.E.


Wind S.E. again so dropped mizzen – st/sle. I am inclined to think we are between two winds of a steady direction and that the S.E. wind will take over from the S.W. as we follow the line parallel to the Peruvian coast. Tracking W.N.W. as the current runs in that direction. An average 3.5KN all day with constant watching of compass, as wind very fickle in direction necessitating adjusting Neil to hold courses and prevent meandering nine sail handlings today so far.

22.1.96 Monday. Day 4.


 Woke at 01.00h to radar alarm. Ship on horizon off my Port Bow. Waited until he was on my port side and spoke asking him to report my position to Arica and OK. My sleep is now bollixed, so I will read for a while. Why is it that I meet ships at night? He was bound from called to Arica. Nice man.


Under twin poled genoas since 21.15h last evening and added mizzen st/sle just now. Wind up and down with genoas yowling overnight, but steadying direction. Speed 4KN now. Slept late today, after speaking ship last night and then reading until I got drowsy. 75NM. An average of 3KN per hour.


Ship going South off port beam. No radar alarm, must be on visual. Tried V.H.F. contact once and no reply.


Dropped mizzen st/sle wind S.E. and on our stern little wind since 13.00h and Genoa giving odd yowls, but moving. Tightened stern glad, tidied aft cabin and checked engine for oil and water, this afternoon, as I think wind will die with sun, and if so I will run engine, as batteries need a charge, as I used navigation lights, cabin lights, G.P.S. and V.H.F., since Iquique. More birds today than since I left Iquique, one pure white with a long ribbon type tail, also gannets and sealions. 2.5KN.


Becalmed and ran engine for 2 hours.

23.1.96 Tuesday. Day 5.


Still no wind but had a great sleep, only having to get up to natures alarm clock. As I took cocoa before bunk at 23.00h. We have heavy dews overnight since (and sometimes) Iquique.


Having breakfast of 3 rashers from second last vacuum pack and we will see re engine if no wind. Pacific like glass with odd cats paws. 55NM for the 24h yesterday. Checked G.P.S. position last night at 23.00h and again this morning 08.30h. To check velocity of Peru current. We drifted 3NM. North and 2NM E, no big deal in 9 hours, or any evidence of any strength. Can’t complain with progress so far. An average of 87M per day and nearly a third of the way to Manta. Feel very relaxed and content this morning. Must be the sleep without hassle. One thing about no wind, you can’t do anything about, it, except engine. I am a bastard for getting the most out of wind and sails, constantly watching compass for wind changes and adjusting sails or changing sails. So this is a holiday for me. I watch the wind and sails like a miser with his lucre. I often wake up at night and there is a change of sea motion, knowing we are off course. Watching distance off the coast is always important when skirting it, as we are doing now, for there lies the real hazard. Few ships are lost at sea but many on the shore. So far I have been very lucky and I learned my lesson in NZ, where I had no chart or bluff. Must bestir myself and case the joint, and tidy up after breakfast and put on sun and lip cream and get out of track suit pants and shirts and into my sawn off shorts.


Doing 13KN under port poled genoa to a S.E. puff. Worth a try. Try twins, still plodding along, but more birds around today, which is usually a sign of wind though here it may be fish. Have got through a lot of work this morning already. Must be the good night’s sleep.


Up starboard genoa 2.5KN. Sea state as flat as one can expect on an ocean. One pelican flew astern going S.W and numerous gannets. Also some sea lions.


Wind swung from S.E. to S.S.W. Hoisted main, but it has eased and I think it will die away again with sundown. Did well since morning with twin genoas from 11.30h.


Dropped main.


Wind back to S.E. again. Warm working on deck, even at this hour, with only shorts, t-shirt, and of course my tazzie hat, and neck scarf. T-shirts don’t protect the neck. So I will have my tea soon. Boiled 2 spuds (big) for lunch, with a big onion, and with salami. They were nice.  Salads I needed a break from. Yesterday had a tin of herring with the salad to vary it. So this evening I will fry cold spuds left from lunch, for a change. Had 3 rashers for my breakfast, also had an avocado today while awaiting on boiled spuds. So I am looking after my pot which I built up in Chile. Wind or swell now we hadn’t earlier and it is from the S.W. Must be some shit down S to send a swell up here. 40deg is 15.00NM S of us. Still plodding under twin Genoas at 2.3KN. Sunset was at 20.45H, as we are moving west as we track diagonally, following the Peru coastline, and parallel to it. Breeze held and we plod along. It also stabilized in direction. Ship to starboard going north on horizon off our quarter.

24.1.96 Tuesday. Day 6.


Another ship going north to starboard spoke and asked if I was in the north sound shopping lanes, and he said his chart was old and did not show any lanes. He was bound for Panama. Woke and got up as I did not feel like sleeping and had a cocoa and read until 04.30h and had to get up 05.00h and drop twin Genoas. As we had a sea fret which was fucking up what wind we had. 07.30h. Hoisted twin genoas again which are filling in spite of sea fret. 3KN> The sea fret is composed of the long S. W’y of yesterday’s swell with S. W’y waves within, it and a smaller swell from the South and our present wind is S.E by S, giving waves from that direction. Just got up again as I hit the bunk again after hoisting sails at 08.00h and the sea fret is gone. Thank God. It is it not the motion as such, but in light winds like last night the sails are tossed about. Between ships and fret and light winds, last night was far from a good night’s sleep.


Finishing my breakfast of salvaged break from mildew. Opened brown loaf yesterday and three quarters of it green. The white, though harder, lasted better. Did not feel hungry as I had cocoa and biscuit twice during the night. But find when I started I was half an apple with bread and margarine and jam and a nice pot of tea. Went out to dump mildew bread and we have a swell from the E also. Out present wind is S.E by S which is pretty regular now since it changed from the S.W. They say there’s 3 items one should not bring on a boat – a spirit level, a wheel barrow and a pool table. As John Harrington, a friend would say, true, true. Breeze developed around midday and has held steady in direction. Excellent progress.


4.5KN. It is hard not to look at the Ocean on a beautiful day like this, and not admire its beauty. So pure and peaceful. This is what brings me on the oceans, its vitality and freshness. It won’t mug you unless you grow careless. If you are careful and industrious, it will assist you, and by observing it in all its moods and treating it with respect, you will be all the better for that.


Had the last of salvaged brown bread with a boiled egg just now. So cream crackers and rye vita until Manta.


Ship on port horizon going south. Wind swung S.S.W, slowly before sundown.

25.1.96 Thursday. Day 7.


Wind held until 23.00h. When it lightened, as it is now, but for the flat sea state we would be calmed. 56NM. Woke by alarm clock and again at 05.00h and on course and moving.


Woke again at 06.00h and slept until now to find breeze had steadied and doing 4.5KN. This morning we are on a new course of 340deg M instead of 305deg M as we have passed 480NM N.W of Iquique where the coast turns and runs N.E until we reach Cape Blanco on the westerly bulge of South America in Ecuador. (600NM) and then due N for Manta 250M. So we have sailed 546M to date as the crow flies at an average of 78M a day, and covered 588M average 82M per day.


Just had my second breakfast of boiled egg, Iquique and a pot of tea. Earlier I had porridge, and a pot of tea and Iquique and marmalade. Twin genoas up now since 07.20h yesterday, isn’t it great. Last days run ended at 02.30h this morning but I will change that to noon today. Wind holding steady in direction S.S.E. strength. Milk (powdered) I opened too which I bought in Coquimbo is not full cream so it will do my pot good, as will Iquique and marg. Ate too much butter and chips etc. during my months in Chile.


30M. Wind swings W.


Mountains of Peru barely visible to starboard, at 33M offshore. As we round the corner. Having last N.Z onion from Invercargill, and beetroot from second last South African jar, with salad lunch, sea lions again today like floating trees. The Pacific is the same colour as the Shannon at the Beeves Rock.


Wind eased and swung S.W by S. Hoisted mizzen st/sle. 4KN.


Wind flukey S.W by S in direction for past hour but seems to have settled in direction now and steadied. I thought it was going to conk.


Shop on starboard horizon going S. Hoisted mizzen st/sle 5.7KN. Sundown 20.45h and wind steadied as prior to it I thought it was again going to conk.

26.1.96 Friday. Day 8.


Great progress overnight. In 8 hours since 12.00h. 80M. An average of 5KN. We are 45M offshore and I can see the long glow in the sky of the capital of Peru, Lima.  Having a mug of milk, with cream crackers with Marisco Pate I opened a tin of for tea yesterday. Woke to alarm at 02.30h and on course, and again now. Wind and direction steady. Wind if it picks up after sundown generally seems to hold.


Woke at 07.45h and thought it was predawn and dozed until 08.00h and decided to look at the compass and clock. Sky overcast but horizon clear. But it is nice for a change, 97M for 20H great. Dropped mizzen st/sle at 05.00h as we were 10 degrees off course, and it was the same as if one pulled it out of the water with dew. Breakfast of last of pate and rye vita and jam and tea.


A pelican circled the boat and landed 50 yards off. Took us for a fishing boat I would imagine. He is sure of his weather and wind, to get back 50M to the Costa. 110M. Touching 5KN. Had mizzen st/sle up for half hour at 09.30h. But wind went S. Best days run yet. Nearly abeam of Callao, the port for Peru’s Lima, and abeam of Lima. Well done Loon and Law.


Just saw an Albatross which I have not seen for a very long time. Twin genoas now up and pulling for 2 days at 07.30h today. Sun out since 10.00h. Had my first tin of Danish pork and beef shit with salad today for a change. Luckily I only bought one in Iquique, but I have a nice tin of Danish Ham. The only snag it is big, and will not last long in this temps. Can’t see any sign of land except clouds rising from it.


Ship just passed to Leeward. He was crossing my bows so, I rounded up, and he passed fairly closed. After he passed he altered course, so had seen me and went ahead of me.


12 deg S. 78deg 04’ W. 5KN. Ran engine for 1 hour to charge batteries.