Southern Cross Update #5: “Southern Cross” May Be Lost

by · March 1, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 10.00.54 AM*Please note we did not get the following information directly from Howard, it was relayed to us through a third-party. As is always the case with these kinds of situations, new information may shed light on details we don’t yet know and some of what is reported might not be completely accurate. Naturally we will add an update as soon as we hear from Howard.

Apparently Howard lost Southern Cross on the rocks Sunday night after a 10-hour sailing stretch where he was, at some point, battling 9-foot seas and winds in excess of 40 knots. Howard tried desperately to save the boat but eventually had to ditch and spent an hour struggling to swim to shore.

As we understand it, his drysuit was damaged during the melee so after huddling for some time on the remote shore he started to feel hypothermia coming on, at which point he made the decision to alert the Chilean Armada of his situation.

The Armada dispatched a boat to effect a rescue and they were able to find Howard, who fired a flare to confirm his location, but the rough weather conditions and rocky bay forced them to stand-off several hours until daylight when they were able to bring him aboard.

We’re told Howard is roughed-up but not seriously injured. He is presently negotiating a way to return to retrieve Southern Cross. As I say, we’ll post and update as soon as we have it—hopefully we will hear directly from Howard. —Josh Colvin

Discussion15 Comments

  1. Christine Berven says:

    So glad Howard is ok!

  2. Very sorry to hear that, after such a thoroughly prepared and courageous effort. Many of us have been following Howard’s progress, often with our hearts in our mouths. I really hope that “Southern Cross” is not a complete loss, but the most important thing is that the man himself is alive and well.

  3. Jamal Kazi says:

    Thankful Howard is OK.

  4. Sean Mulligan says:

    Terrible news about the events that took place ….but so thankful Howard is Ok. Please pass along my best wishes to him.

  5. Brandon K Davis says:

    Heartbreaking! So relieved to hear that Howard is ok!

  6. Phil McLean says:

    Small boats and a forbidding lee shore leave little margin for safety. Kudos to those who dare to explore the limits of what is possible and emerge alive and proud of their accomplishments. My condolences to Howard for the loss of his boat pale beside my respect and admiration for his preparation for this voyage and the skill he displayed negotiating the myriad intricacies of this wild corner of the planet.

    I hope to learn more soon, but in the meantime simply give thanks that he is safe and wish him a joyful reunion with friends and family.

    With sincere respect,

    Phil Mclean
    Media, PA

  7. Larry Williams says:

    So sorry to hear about Southern Cross being lost, so glad to hear that Howard is safe. It was a brave and daring quest–kudos to Howard and his salty little craft getting as far as they did in those tempestuous waters.

  8. phil mccowin says:

    Howard was as prepared as one could be and Southern Cross as tough a boat as one could find. Thank providence that Howard is safe. most likely the nastiest stretch of water on the planet.

  9. Scotty Brooks says:

    Followed his journey as best a we could. I envy his stamina, fortitude, skills and love of adventure. A real hero.

  10. Stacy Smith says:

    Thankful Howard is safe and hopefully can salvage whatever possible. Josh, please let us know if we can assist in any way.

  11. I’ve been out as cruise leader on a small boat cruise, in an area with no cellphone or internet coverage so have only just got this news. While its sad news indeed its good to hear that Howard himself is in one piece. I’m sorry to hear that the lovely little ship Southern Cross may be lost, but I’d be devastated if Howard was lost with her.

    John Welsford

    • Michael Voy says:

      I can not express my feelings any better than you did! P.S. There is another post that indicates Southern Cross may not be lost! It sounded as though Howard is attempting to negotiate a salvage arrangement. Hope is is successful!!

  12. Ken Ford says:

    The sea may have won in this round but I still admire Howard’s sense of adventure and his willingness to explore (boldly) where few have gone before. From my own understanding of what Howard has said about the expedition, his voyage was not only about exploring new territory, it was also about exploring Howard’s own inner strength, his endurance, and his will to persevere in extremely hazardous conditions. In this respect, it sounds as though the mission did truly test his resolve and his personal limits. With that perspective, the mission was not unsuccessful. He did learn a lot about his little ship and his self. Good on ya, Howard. Glad you’re OK!

  13. So very, very thankful that Howard is safe and well.

    Our minds are racing with ideas of what has happened. The last sat. phone recording posted on the Below40South site revealed some intense conditions Howard was facing. We’re sure there’s a fascinating and extremely educational adventure story from all this, true to the wild gifts of the Cape Horn region. Howard, almost certainly, is taking this in stride as just more of the adventure.

    Matt, Mary, Nancy, and Nell Hohlbein

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