I always wondered why the southernmost point of Greenland has attracted this attractive name. After nine days of struggling to get out of its grip, I know. Whoever named it, never wanted to see it again.
It took us all that time to reach a point of about 500 miles to the southeast of it, a distance we normally cover in three days. The immediate area to the south of Cape Farewell is notorious for the large concentration of ice in late spring and early summer but even more so for the breeding ground of depressions throughout the year.
The first time Cape Farewell came to my attention was in late 1990 as I was preparing the start from Gibraltar of the first round the world rally. On Christmas Eve I noticed that a deep depression was developing close to Cape Farewell. As I watched it track across the Atlantic, it made a beeline for Gibraltar and hit the Rock on 2 January 1991, the date of the start of the world rally. With storm force winds being forecast the start was postponed for the following day.
It is only now that I fully appreciate the generally favourable conditions we encountered in the Northwest Passage. But once that voyage had been successfully completed, we seem to have been run out of luck. After so many frustrating days of consistent contrary winds, on Saturday we were treated to a fully-fledged gale with large waves, much higher than one would expect for that kind of wind.
Here is a selection of photos I took at its height:
And here is Dunbar’s contribution from inside as a large wave broke over the bows.
Fortunately as the song goes “storm never last” and by Sunday morning the wind started going down and we could start sailing in the direction of our intended landfall: Lands End at the southwestern tip of England.
As to Cape Farewell, it matches perfectly William Shakespeare’s description of the Atlantic: “The wild and wasteful ocean.”
Just as it looked this morning.