Back into the Atlantic

illbruck has rounded the legendary seafaring landmark of Cape Horn

Sunday February 10th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Positions at 1021 this morning:
1 illbruck 55 54.44S 066 50.72W 2,240 057 14.0 - -
2 Amer One 56 05.72S 068 42.84W 2,302 062 13.5 62 +4
3 Tyco 56 44.04S 068 37.96W 2,317 061 14.3 77 -1
4 News Corp 56 08.72S 069 14.68W 2,320 063 13.6 80 +3
5 Assa Abloy 56 35.24S 069 25.44W 2,333 065 15.2 93 -11
6 djuice 56 22.56S 070 55.52W 2,377 071 14.7 137 -5
7 Amer Too 56 32.36S 084 45.92W 2,835 079 15.3 595 -4
8 SEB 56 15.04S 092 51.44W 3,104 114 8.4 864 +34
At 0838 illbruck was the first of the eight Volvo Ocean 60s to round the historic seafaring landmark of Cape Horn, in relatively benign conditions. In the last 24 hours she has almost doubled her lead on Amer Sports One and the chasing pack who are due to make the rounding this afternoon. But while illbruck appear to have whisked round with the tide those astern will have to punch into it...

Meanwhile the situation is not looking so rosey for Lisa McDonald and the girls on Amer Sports Too now some 600 miles behind the leaders. The weather at the Horn is set to deteriorate over the next 48 hours and they could be in for a pasting.

From the chart table of Amer Sports One Paul Cayard summed up the situation this morning:

Dealing with the rounding of Cape Horn, Isla de los Estados and then the Falklands has consumed the majority of every navigator and tactician's time over the past 12 hours.  There are many factors to consider: wind direction, wind speed or pressure, distance of the different options, and current...there is a lot of that in the Estrecha de la Mer between Isla de los Estados and the mainland. 

Then there are several [weather] tools to use to consider the options: MRF, Bracknell, AVN, no gaps, isotechs, etc, so the amount of work that two people can do in 24 hours is probably not enough to exhaustively research every option on every tool.

The current in the Estrecha de la Mer can be very strong...up to five knots on spring tide, which is what we have.  At night the wind can be very light and fickle so one could get parked there in an adverse current pretty well.

It looks to me like illbruck is perfectly positioned to make a big gain down here.  Their 60 mile lead will get them into the Estrecha, if they chose to, with about 16-18 knots wind and just before the maximum northerly flow.  We will arrive 5-6 hours later, with 5-7 knots in the Estrecha and a foul current. That will hold us up and let the boats behind catch up while illbruck will be off toward the Falklands at pace.

We may have to consider the outside of Isla de los Estados because this could create a breakaway opportunity for illbruck, just like we did four years ago.

Roger [Nilson] is sleeping right now and I just finished making a matrix with all the different options, the mileage associated with each and a routing time for each with the MRF.  When Roger wakes up we will get the latest models and maps and make our final plan for the day.  We run all the information through all the options, twice. 

Roger uses a different routing software from me. He uses MaxSea and I use the Deckman. Although this is a lot of work it is good because we get two different readouts on the same information. All this will take place in the next 18 hours.

Meanwhile the guys on deck are driving us along at 14 knots in a 20 knots southwesterly breeze and the sea is moderating. Looks like a second peaceful rounding of the Corn [Cape Horn] for me. I don't really know how nasty this place can be. We will be close enough to see the Horn and Ciccio [Claudio Celon] will give us the blessing when we go by around 14:00 GMT now.

My special memento this time around is my wedding ring. I did not bring it last time and the only item I did have the whole way around the world got lost two months after the race in a hotel in Paris. I also have my Rolex watch which I will give to my son someday engraved with 'Cape Horn- Feb 10, 2002'.

It is a pitch black night tonight, our last night in the Southern Ocean. I was just up on deck with Bouwe's [Bekking] watch, looking up at the stars that shine so much brighter here than any where else I have been.

Wondering if this is my last night in the Southern Ocean, forever.

The crew on illbruck get a dunking

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