Falkland Islands - Profile
- The Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic. The archipelago is made up of two groups of over 700 islands, East Falkland and its adjacent islands, and West Falkland. The islands lie about 480 miles northeast of Cape Horn. Port Stanley is the main town, where most people live, and the rest of the country is called "The Camp".
- The Falklands' traditional role as a convenient stop for reprovisioning has been resuscitated in the last few years by modern yachts, some sailing the classic Cape Horn route, but most being on their way to or from the Straits of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean canals, which are becoming an increasingly popular cruising destination. Visiting boats are still quite rare however, and the welcome is warm.
- Only a few yachts have sufficient time to stop long enough in the Falklands to cruise these wild and windswept islands. Although access is restricted in some areas, either for military reasons or because some islands are nature reserves, most of the islands can be visited and a glimpse caught of their spectacular wildlife with large colonies of penguins, sea lions and elephant seals.
- There are plenty of anchorages here protected from the wind, however protection from the sea is another matter and sometimes it is not possible to disembarque.
- The port at Stanley has become the winter base for some of the charter boats plying the South Atlantic. As a result, repair facilities have improved considerably.
- Provisioning is good in Stanley, and some provisions, mainly locally grown vegetables and meat, may be obtained in the other settlements. There are also some facilities in Fox Bay East, on West Falkland.
- Yachts visiting an Argentinian port after a visit to the Falkland are likely to encounter difficulties and a fine if permission to visit the islands has not been obtained from the Argentinian authorities first.
The weather is the greatest impediment to cruising the Falklands, as it can change rapidly and without warning, but there are many protected anchorages, so that one is never too far from shelter. The climate is temperate, although changeable. Westerlies are frequent, often strong, and their yearly average is 17 knots. Summer winds are more northerly in direction and this is also where the worst gales come from, usually with very little warning. Another local phenomenon occurring during strong westerly winds are the willywaws, violent gusts of winds which are felt in the lee of the islands and in some of the passages between them.
The Shipping Weather Forecast for the FIZC open waters is broadcast each day at 0830LT on HF frequency 4066.1khz by the Fisheries Dept, preceded by any navigational warnings.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page