Velux 5 Oceans Sprint three leader Brad Van Liew has revealed he has started to plan his rounding of the infamous Cape Horn, the most southerly tip of South America.
Brad Van Liew on his yacht, Le Pingouin
Up until now the 43-year-old American has been focused on weather systems approaching from behind as the Velux 5 Oceans fleet fly through the Southern Ocean powered east by prevailing winds.
But with less than 2,000 nautical miles to go until Brad must navigate his Eco 60 Le Pingouin around the dangerous waters off Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago of islands that includes Cape Horn, his thoughts have now turned to what lies ahead.
'The big news is that later today I will download weather information that will take me up to Cape Horn,' Brad said this morning. 'Then I will truly be looking ahead to Cape Horn rather than anything that’s happening behind me. I’m pretty excited about that. Hopefully we will get a window of opportunity that will allow us to get round safely. It’s all about looking forward right now.'
Notorious for being a place of huge seas, howling winds and shipwrecks, Cape Horn has struck fear into sailors for centuries. Millions of tonnes of water are forced through a 400-mile wide gap between South America and Antarctica with often brutal consequences. Meticulous planning is required for a safe passage, as well as a little bit of luck.
'From now on I’ll start planning tactically and mentally for the rounding,' said Brad, who has rounded Cape Horn twice previously and knows what awaits. 'I think about rounding Cape Horn every single day. It’s all about that window of opportunity. It’s the pinnacle of this leg. The closer you get to it the more you think about it, but it’s been there in my mind all along. There’s no way to shut it off.'
At the 0600 UTC position report Brad had a lead of more than 125 nautical miles over his race rivals but he’s taking nothing for granted. 'I’m not a weather system ahead of the other guys so my lead is a bit fake,' he added. 'It would be hard to pass me but it would be easy for them to catch right up to me. I’m just trying to keep as much sail up as I can. I think this leg is going to be really close, we’re in a proper boat race here.'
Ocean sprint three positions at 06h00 UTC:
Skipper / distance to finish (nm) / distance to leader (nm) / distance covered in last 24 hours (nm) / average speed in last 24 hours (kts)
Brad Van Liew, Le Pingouin: 3337.3/ 0/ 282.6/11.8
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 3466.2/128.9/265.3/11.1
Derek Hatfield, Active House: 3504.1/166.8/ 254.1/10.6
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 3692.7/ 355.4/ 227.1 / 9.5