Legend has it that over 31 days during 1788 the HMS Bounty of Captain Bligh made just 85 miles while attempting fruitlessly to round Cape Horn. If they round Cape Horn as expected on Tuesday 24th February, Barcelona World Race leaders Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam will have taken 31 days to race from the longitude of Cape of Good Hope to the most feared of all Capes. They passed Good Hope on 24th January at 20:20hrs UTC. and those who like the fearful symmetries of IMOCA Round the World Racing might not be too far wrong to stab at a 24th March finish into Barcelona!
Such speeds from Cheminées Pojoulat, indicate that harmony prevails and that there has not even been a mutinous whisper between the two vastly experienced co-skippers, Stamm and Le Cam. The duo, who have six racing circumnavigations between them, were just over 800 miles from the Cape this afternoon and conditions, though robust, look set for a favourable, well earned release from the clutches of the Pacific. Compared with the Indian, the Pacific has been tough but fair to the Swiss-French pair
Of course both will share their relief on Tuesday. Perhaps more so though for Le Cam. He has been back on the last Vendèe Globe, exorcising the ghosts of 2009 when he was trapped for 16 hours inside his upturned VM Materiaux 200 miles west of Cape Horn and had to be rescued.
With a big lead of 1172 miles, perhaps the duo will take advantage of a day time rounding to get closer in and enjoy their passage.
Race Director Jacques Caraes confirms the top duo can expect reasonable conditions but which will not disappoint:
“Cheminées Poujoulat are in a NWly wind which is close to 35kts and it will move W and the SW, dropping a little as they approach Cape Horn on Tuesday. The sun will be up at 0400hrs and so they will have a passage by day, 25-28kts. At 100 after Cape Horn they will have ideal conditions the SW veering W so they can make the Le Maire Straits on their Great Circle route making it the shortest route between the E coast of Tierra del Fuego and Staten Island where they have restored the ‘lighthouse at the end of the world'”
The horns of a dilemma
Seventh placed Nandor Fa admitted that he and co-skipper Conrad Colman may be on the horns of dilemma tomorrow. To pit stop or not? After both co-skippers have been up the mast to try and release a jammed, broken halyard lock slide.
“We have had five very full days because we are fighting with the problems we have, especially on the mast, the halyard lock was broken again. It is not enought to be broken again. In fact it is stuck on the track. I was up the mast and I tried to fix it. Conrad went up and could not either. Tomorrow morning we will try again. If it is impossible to fix we will make a decision what to do. But, not now.”