Van Liew rounds Cape Horn

Velux 5 Oceans leader returns to the South Atlantic

Tuesday February 22nd 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

At around 2230 GMT last night, Brad van Liew and his Eco 60 Le Pingouin were the first boat in the Velux 5 Oceans to round Cape Horn, marking the return to the Atlantic. Following his two previous participations in this solo round the world race, van Liew, 43, is believed to be the only American ever to have raced around the seafaring world's most notorious landmark singlehanded three times.

The approach to Cape Horn lived up to its reputation battering van Liew and his yacht, but by the time as they passed it last night the wind had dropped and seas abated.

“It’s been a lot of years since I was down here last and it was really a very special moment,” said van Liew. “It was pretty emotional. I’m going to remember it forever. It’s a very small band of people who have been round Cape Horn solo three times and I am very proud to be one of them, it’s a remarkable feeling.

“The run up to Cape Horn was a really tough one with really dangerous waves and a lot more wind than was anticipated. It was supposed to be blowing 30 knots but I had 50. As I came up on to the shelf the waves were unbelievable. I stuck the bow into the back of a few waves really quite bad. On two different occasions the boat actually tipped up on its nose and the rudders came out of the water. It was a reminder of how unforgiving this place is.

“It is a huge relief to be round Cape Horn safely without incident. It’s now set to get really light and I am going to park up but I will worry about that later. Right now I’m just enjoying the moment.”

Van Liew now has around 1,300 nautical miles to sail up the South Atlantic to Punta del Este, Uruguay and the end of leg three. Second-placed Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski was this morning only 345 nautical miles from Cape Horn.

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