The last of the winter series of talks at the Henley Offshore Group is taking place next Monday, 10 April at 8pm at Henley Golf Club with Chris Roche entitled ‘Along The Cape Horn Road.’
Waving the flag for Britain in the autumn of 1991 Chris joined the traditional square rigged sailing ship Søren Larsen with 33 others in the crew to take aim at Cape Horn. This talk illustrated with colour slides taken on that voyage tells the story of how this little 150 ton brigantine sailed the great expanse of the Southern Ocean, where some way into the 7000 mile expanse of seemingly endless sea you are as a sailor the furthest it is possible to be from land on the planet.
He tells how they celebrated the loneliness, the lime juice ceremony, paying off the dead horse 30 days out, arrival off Cape Horn in a force 6 and then destination Falkland Islands.
Singers sing about this place, Chris was there and square rigged at that, in the first British owned and registered square rigger to make the Horn in 55 years. Then blow me again in 2015 he went again this time in Europa he may tell of that or of crossing the line should there be time.
Chris Roche is a now 70 year old who in his youth met the late great Stan Hugill the then last living Shantyman who shaped him into the man he became. Chris was born at Folkestone where he first saw tall ships from the hills above the town when he saw what was the square sails of the first tall ships race that would have been 1956 and perhaps even Sørlandet a ship he later sailed the Atlantic in was one of them. Chris went to sea to find out how the songs might have worked when heaving and hauling on lines and capstan bars. In real life he was a plumber another affinity with water. He is also the editor of the Journal of the IACH ‘the Cape Horners’ a volunteer post he has held for thirty six years.