Tall Ships

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Tall ships are elegant, majestic sailing vessels, which rely on the wind for propulsion and expert seamanship for survival. Yachts, schooners, and sailboats--these are the ideal boats for navigating the Beagle Channel, Cape Horn, and the Strait of Magellan. Located at the southern end of South America, these world-famous passages constitute historic routes taken by intrepid explorers of this forbidding region.

Intimate knowledge of the hazardous winds and waters of the southern oceans is required to sail this territory. For those who carry passengers into the channels, fjords, and inlets of Tierra del Fuego and surrounding lands, the level of expertise must be extraordinary. And anyone will find that sailing on tall ships is an unforgettable experience.

Modern Tall Ships

The life of a sailor two centuries ago was rugged, to say the least. Accommodations on board ship were crude. Today's passengers also help with the rigging and sails, but aside from narrow beds, their shipboard life is filled with amenities. Typical equipment onboard tall ships that take on the southern waters would include everything from an electric generator and anchor winch to radar, depth sounder, and GPS (global position system).

Passengers' quarters usually have opening hatches or portholes, incandescent lighting, and hot water for showers and baths. Salads and fresh vegetables grown in Chile are plentiful on the menu, as are king crab and fresh fish. For exploration, there are kayaks and Zodiacs, rubber inflatable boats that can ferry passengers ashore quickly.

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