by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 13 of Leg 5. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Tom Addis and Rome Kirby chatting at the Cape. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
'I’ve rounded Cape Horn five times now. That’s four too many!' Jono Swain.
Cape Horn looked like any other rugged seaside outcropping on the horizon, jagged and torn from years of constant battering much like the kind we just spent 12 days enduring. As we approached though, sailing past snow-capped mountains and a brilliant red sunrise, I began to realize that the Horn’s spectacle is not in its beauty but its significance. This is Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America, and the southernmost point of land on earth. It is cold, dark, and raw, and the living is tough. And as impressive as the rock stood, it stands for so much more: it represents total challenge and rewards those who accept it responsibly.
The Cape Horn approach. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
I would guess there are fewer people who have sailed around Cape Horn the way we have, suffering what we did, than who have climbed Mount Everest. And looking at that ominous island today, I realized that I pushed myself and my limits well beyond the point I ever thought possible... not even close. Odds are, most everyone who first journey’s around that point feels a similar prick of pride.
So yes, today we sailed by a big black rock with green stuff growing on the side. But today we also accomplished something great. That Southern Ocean leg was one for the ages, and we made it here together. We did it the right way, the safe way, and we had fun doing it. Handshakes, smiles, cigars, and a swig of rum confirmed that there was something to celebrate – something very different for everyone – and then we were on our merry way again, eyes aimed north towards Brazil.
But after all the revelry, when I put my camera down below to start on lunch, I realized I never really took the time to remember, to look with my eyes. So I walked up on deck, stood by the back rail, and watched Cape Horn fade into the distance.
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website