for the ages

vor on board

for the ages

Leg 5, Day 13
31 March 2012 
Amory Ross, MCM, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG 

LOCATION: 100 miles E of Tierra Del Fuego 
HEADING: 287-degrees 
DISTANCE TO FINISH: 1,785 miles 

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. 

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.  VOR video update here.

The latest from Telefonica:

The “Telefónica” pit stop at Caleta Martial, a cove on Herschel Island (Chile) is going at a good pace and the boat will be fully back in the race at 22:00 UTC. Moored at the cove, the crew are eager to hit the water again, a mood that was made quite clear by the words of skipper Iker Martínez who is anxious to set off: “Let’s see if these reinforcements dry quickly and we can shoot out of here”.

The Spanish boat suspended racing today, Saturday the 31st of March at 04:37 UTC and since then the shore crew and racing crew have been working to achieve a clear objective: to get “Telefónica” back to 100% in the shortest possible time. Fortunately, as Iker Martínez says: “When we got here the boat was in the best state we could hope for: the exterior of the hull was intact”.

For now the situation is looking up, and according to the skipper of the Spanish team: “The reinforcements are going well and now we just need to wait for everything to dry and we’ll be ready to go. Once we’re happy with the job we’ll begin sailing again, first making our exit through the islands to get back to the point where we suspended racing yesterday night, some four miles northeast of Cape Horn. From there we’ll be sailing up to Itjaí”.