Drake Passage, Antarctica

At the start of an Antarctic expedition, the sailing yacht Sarah Vorwerk heels over in a squall south of Cape Horn.

“We cleared the southern tip of the world just as a single beam of sunlight struck the cliffs, and soon rain and clouds obscured the view. Just before land faded from view, Henk intoned “Ladies and gentlemen, behold the horror of mariners.”

As if on cue, a squall blew in hard and fast, and upon leaving the last protection of land, we took it right in the chops. Forty knot winds whirled the sea into ugly chaos.

As we plowed through the 15-foot following seas, Sarah lurched and fell in endless repitition. The northerly wind drove sleet and rain under the meager protection of the small cockpit canopy. It grew steadily colder and stronger, until another squall around sunset brought a 62 knot gust.”

Photographed January 6, 2001 using a Canon EOS-1 camera and 24mm f/3.5 Tilt-Shift Lens on Fujichrome Velvia slide film.

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