By comparison with Cape Horn's reputation for storms and big seas, Cheminées Poujoulat's Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam, leaders of the Barecelona World Race look set to be granted a relatively straightforward passage later today. This morning the duo have been making 15-16kts of boat speed towards Cape Horn which is still 256 miles away for them at 0500hrs UTC. They are sailing in 20-25kts of SW'ly wind which is going to veer W, presenting them with great conditions to go north, subsequently routing though the Le Maire Strait - the 18 miles wide stretch which separates Staten Island (Isla de los Estados) from the E extremity of the Argentine bit of Tierra del Fuego. They will also go west of the Falkland Islands. Their ETA at Cape Horn is around 21hrs UTC this evening
Above all Cape Horn is a time for extra care and caution. While observers and race fans may be poised to share and enjoy the passage of the Barcelona World Race leaders Cheminées Poujoulat this Tuesday evening, Swiss co-skipper Bernard Stamm was clear that there will be little time for celebration or reflection as they start their release from the Pacific.
The deliverance from the Pacific will have been notable for Cheminées Poujoulat. After passing Cape Horn at 0100hrs this Thursday morning in 20-25kts of WSW'ly winds, passing 14 miles south of the rock, Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam have accelerated into much flatter waters. Now they enjoy the twin benefits of the wind veered more to the west and the protection of Tierra del Fuego which has reduced the swell completely. And so as the Barcelona World Race leaders make towards the Straits de Lemaire which they should pass around 0900hrs UTC they are making 18kts in smooth seas. Today should feel like a good day, as they sprint north, set to pass west of the Falklands tonight.
With Cheminées Poujoulat making good progress up the Atlantic, making close to 18kts, 120 miles SW of the Falklands, Cape Horn marks the frontier between the two different worlds inhabited by skippers on the Barcelona World Race.
In the leading eastern fleet, gains are expected to continue for Cheminees Poujoulat as a strong SWíly flow from Cape Horn to north to 40S gives them good downwind running conditions for the nest day or two. Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos are making good progress toward The Horn on a building W to NW flow. The western fleet have been in tricky conditions negotiating complex low pressure which has moved south out of the sub-tropics. Some moderate to fresh upwind conditions and short, rough seas slowed progress late yesterday. However as the low moves south of them today/tonight, their eastward pace will quicken.
Racing in second place in the Barcelona World Race, the Barcelona sailor Guillermo Altadill and Chilean José Muñoz passed Cape Horn (67° 17' 35 W) this morning at 2h12 UTC (3h12 am in Barcelona, 11h12 pm of the 27th of February in Chile), after 58 days, 14 hours and 12 minutes of racing since their start from the Catalan capital on 31 December 2014. As they approached Cape Horn Neutrogena had a taste of the authentic experience in winds of 40 kts and big formed waves as they turned to climb the Atlantic. It is the seventh time Altadill has passed the most southernmost corner of the planet, while for Muñoz it was the second time in a around the world race, a very special moment that he dedicated to the late Felipe Cubillos, with whom he completed his first around the world race.
Race leader Cheminees Poujoulat is following a strong south Atlantic low center as they sail east before tacking north again. Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos are arriving at Cape Horn in freshening W'lies, but they will find winds easing after they round and turn north. Back in the western fleet, We Are Water and One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton are racing east in a fresh N'ly just ahead of an approaching cold front. Renault Captur is sailing north of a strong South Pacific storm. Spirit of Hungary are working across a ridge of high pressure to reach the W'lies and properly return to the race.