A survivor of the sinking of the General Belgrano cruise ship plans to start next Monday his sixth nautical voyage on a sailboat, in which he will seek to get from Ushuaia to Cape Hornand that will also have a historical component since it is the place where the Argentine military vessel was during the Malvinas war of 1982.
Nilo Navas, 58, also an Economics teacher and radio host, will once again use the “Galileo” oceanic sailboat with which he reached Isla de los Estados in 2019 and the Argentine Antarctic in 2020but in this case, two women will join the crew for the first time.
Although Cape Horn is the southernmost point of the American continent and one of the most dangerous places in the world for navigation, the ex-combatant seeks to provide the journey with a historical component related to the war with Great Britain.
“For us, this new expedition also has a historical context. For the first time we will navigate international waters and we will try to reach Cape Horn, which is the place where the General Belgrano cruise ship was positioned between April 26 and 28, 1982 to intercept to British ships during the Falklands war”, Navas explained to Télam.
He also clarified that during the war there were intelligence reports realizing that the English ships “would sail through the Pacific to surround Cape Horn and enter the southern arm of the Malvinas, something that ultimately did not happen.”
The same vessel belonging to the Malvinas Argentinas Foundation of Bahía Blanca made a trip in 2017 to the site of the sinking of the Argentine Navy cruise shipwhere an act of tribute to the 323 deceased was carried out.
A 2019 expedition served to create the “Heroes de Malvinas” thematic library at the San Juan de Salvamento lighthouse (or End of the World Lighthouse) on Isla de los Estados, another in 2020 took them to different national Antarctic bases and in 2021 they returned to the mythical archipelago where the Jules Verne book takes place to honor Commander Luis Piedrabuena.
Beyond the war The ex-combatant highlighted the value of the journey in terms of geographical milestones, for reaching the southernmost point of the continent and also for the danger of those waters.
“For us, this new expedition also has a historical context. For the first time we will navigate international waters and we will try to reach Cape Horn, which is the place where the General Belgrano cruise ship was positioned”
“Cape Horn is the dream of any sailor, just like the Drake Passage we did in 2020 to go to Antarctica. It is one of the most difficult places in the world to navigate. We will also pass through the Lennox, Picton and Nueva Islas that generated the dispute with Chile in 1978, and on the way back we will enter the Fuegian channels and the Chilean glaciers, before returning to Ushuaia,” the expedition member recounted.
Who make up the crew on board
The crew of the sailboat will be made up of the “usual team” made up of captain Andrés Antonini, boatswain Mario Monserrat and skipper and head of navigation Jorge “Jota” Patoco, to which in this case the navigator Ernesto Niedzwiecki will be added.
Nevertheless, The novelty of this journey will be that for the first time two women will join us: Verónica Varas and Cynthia Burna, both navigators from Buenos Aires.
The entire crew arrived in Ushuaia on Thursday the 5th at night and As of Friday the 6th, preparations for the boat began at the pier of the Afasyn yacht club in the Tierra del Fuego capital.
“Cape Horn is the dream of any sailor, just like the Drake Passage we did in 2020 to go to Antarctica. It is one of the most difficult places in the world to navigate”
The day before leaving they will carry out a test navigation through the Beagle Channel, to test the operation of the ship.
“We depend on the weather conditions but our idea is to set sail on Monday the 9th. Go through the Beagle Channel to Puerto Karelo, Puerto Almanza and Puerto Willians, already in Chile, and then head towards Cape Horn. We have planned a three-week journey , returning to Ushuaia on January 28 or 29,” Navas said.
About the boat
The “Galileo” is an ocean-going sailboat of the Navaltec 38 type, 11.50 meters long, 3.75 wide, 1.65 deep and 1.70 meters deep, which will be loaded with “500 liters of diesel to emergency situations, 150 liters of drinking water, dry and fresh food”, among other items and supplies.
The same boat, although with other owners prior to the Bahia foundation, also has a trip to the Malvinas Islands in 2008.
Nilo Navas was the first corporal of operations on the General Belgrano cruise ship and was 19 years old during the 1982 wartwo years before requesting discharge from the Navy and beginning his studies in economics.
For more than 30 years he has earned a living as a teacher in Bahía Blancaalthough he never renounced other activities related to the dissemination of the Malvinas cause.
He was vice president of the War Veterans Center and head of the Malvinas Argentinas Foundation of his city, and in his spare time he co-hosted the radio program “El Crucero General vive”, for which he obtained the Martín Fierro Federal 2012 in the category “historical disclosure”.
“Our trips are always with the Argentine and Malvinas flag at the top. We meet cultural and historical objectives, while we sail, which is one of our greatest passions. For this reason, we want to thank those who always support our initiatives,” concluded the ex-combatant and popularizer. constant of the malvinera feat.