The bottom of the world. Land as CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand approach Cape Horn, during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.
Finally we have reached and rounded one of the Holy Grails of ocean sailing- Cape Horn… without as much as a glimpse of it.
Unfortunately when we rounded it was dark, no moon to even lighten it for a slight sighting.
For some reason this doesn’t seem to bother me, more often than not it would with a landmark like this, but I guess it illustrates the relief and jubilation of finally making our way north out of the relentless Southern Ocean.
Although we did have a spectacular sail along the coast for the 60 odd miles prior to Cape Horn though. Towering snow capped mountains crowned by dark grey clouds which pretty much signal the bottom of the world.
I think one of the guys mentioned that Antarctica was only another 300 miles south of us, which really hit home just where we were. We could have sailed there in a day if we wanted… I just don’t think we would have lasted another day once we were there.
We have had quite the adventure down here for the past three weeks, and I think most of us onboard are pretty happy to see the back of it.
It is an amazing place to be and experience, but it’s definitely not the kind of place you want to hang around too long. You are always just a bit on edge down here. It is fierce, raw and inhospitable, but it is stunning and mystical and I am glad to have visited.
The crew on watch in the Southen Ocean onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)
The three of us (Me, Daryl and Adam) who rounded Cape Horn for the first time are pretty chuffed with ourselves tonight- it’s a big box to tick, and not an easy one by any means.
Stu on the other hand was rounding for his seventh time, and Trae his fourth, of which his last rounding was 19 years ago. I wonder if he remembered why he hadn’t done this for 19 years.
Stu reckons I need to come back again now to actually see The Horn next time- I don’t… that’s what Google is for.
So now it’s supposed to get warmer pretty quickly… I haven’t noticed this yet.
The water temperature down here is 6 degrees Celsius. You don’t have to be Einstein to work out how long you would last in water that cold.
I wonder what temperature the beaches of Brazil are at this time of year…
My feet are frozen again.
Counting the days…
Golden Quote: 'All in all, hopefully a pretty good rounding of Cape Horn. It is very late in the year for this kind of stuff, mid April. Ideally you want to be doing this in February, but there have been a few little delays. It’s been quite a marathon really for all of us in the team to get here at this stage. We would have done an extra 2000 miles than everyone else, and take 10 days longer.' Chris Nicholson