Brian Thompson, skipper aboard the Oryx Quest leading yacht Doha 2006, sent this report from the Straits of Le Maire this morning
Brian Thompson, skipper aboard the Oryx Quest yacht Doha 2006, sent this report from the Straits of Le Maire this morning. Cape Horn was rounded last night, and we are now through the Straits of Le Maire (with the help of the tide) and have an increasing breeze from the east. As we are getting accustomed to, there is a head sea from northerly winds ahead of us, and that is slowing us down a touch. Later today and tonight we hope this sea will subside and we can start making good speed up to the next mark of the course, Los Lobos island off Punta del Este, Uruguay.
The light airs at Cape Horn were very local and unforecast by all the international weather models. It was caused by a low-pressure system just appearing and parking over the top of us. The first people to notice it officially were the Chilean navy who put it on their Surface Analysis. The international models still showed us romping along in a north-westerly, as we had to beat around Cape Horn in a light easterly. Still, the accuracy of our forecasts over this entire 14,000 miles so far travelled has been fantastic, but it’s fun to see that mother nature can still hide her handiwork from even the biggest of our supercomputers. It must have been even more fun to see from Cheyenne!
Clearly Cheyenne has been making enormous gains on us over the last 24 hours, and she appears to be in a good spot with winds from the leading edge of the intense storm (that has stopped Daedalus) taking them right to the Horn. So expect some big changes in our lead in the near term. We hope this stabilises in the medium term as we get good winds past the Falkland Islands and beyond. As we drifted I did not want to look at the reports to see the gap closing by 20 knots an hour, so I had to wait till we were at least moving again before checking. We were doing the best we could in the conditions that we had.
The Cape Horn rounding was so busy as we gybed and prepared the medium gennaker for hoisting, that it was not a big event. It was dark and squally and apart from the two lighthouses on the island, we only got a quick glimpse of the rock in starlight during a clearing or the sky for a moment.
Paul had been planning a big mediafest of filming and interviews for the rounding, and was sorely disappointed as we drifted 20 miles from the Horn as night fell. The Straits of Le Maire today gave him lots more opportunity for action shots with Tierra del Fuego as an exotic backdrop.
Otherwise all good on board. It was a long night for me in the light airs of the Cape and I had a good sleep before the Straits. We went through the Straits on the north going flood tide and even in 7 knots of wind the water was very choppy as we passed. It is a notorious stretch of water in most conditions. Last year we went through in the dark on Cheyenne and had some very rough seas.
Talking of that trip, congratulations are in order for Steve Fossett for his solo non-stop RTW flight. A huge achievement, and one that he had been planning for years. The plane was on its first trials whilst we were on last years trip so I was getting very interested in the flight from then on. Another great first for Steve. Brian – www.maxicatdoha.com