Chatting from BG Spirit on Monday evening Tony Procos sent this log about rounding the Horn

At the Global Challenge yachts head round Cape Horn racing at the top of the fleet couldn’t be much closer. Spirit of Sark has the upper hand this morning but with just four miles between her and BG Spirit there’s every chance the situation will change soon. Chatting from BG Spirit on Monday evening Tony Procos sent this log about rounding the Horn.

“Cape Horn” – the name conjures up memories of the adventure stories you read as a child – of sailors battling mountainous seas and Gale Force winds in their square riggers, of three-masted ships trying for months to round the Horn the wrong way and then having to give up.

“Then you read the stories of adventurers like Joshua Slocum and Francis Chichester and the Horn becomes more romanticized and becomes something you have to do (and not just so that you could wear a gold earring).

“It was with all these thoughts in mind that we woke for our 8am watch this morning knowing that the Horn was only 40 miles away, but we were surprised to find ourselves reaching along at 10 knots under full main and genoa in a pleasant slight sea. Just as we began to think that becoming a ‘Horner’ was going to be easy and that we would be round by 11, the Horn showed us what she was capable of. Nine hours later we finally rounded with three reefs in the main, the storm staysail and the number 3 Yankee up. We had been beating into a growing sea against gusts of up to 45 knots to earn our title of ‘Cape Horner’. We’ve done it! We have joined a small brotherhood of sailors who have shared an experience of a lifetime and have imprinted into our minds a picture of the Horn. As Chay said in our briefing in Buenos Aires: “Once seen, never forgotten”.

“But don’t think it was all serious. Just after rounding the Horn our mother watch (Mark and Robin) came on deck dressed only in their base layers with spoons in hand to pose for photos, they have joined an even smaller club, The ‘Cooked around the Horn’ club!

The crew have the following to say about the experience:

Andrew Forbes

“A childhood dream realised and something I will never forget. The trick now is to decide whether we move to the north slightly to hold advantage over the following fleet or head towards the south to shorten the distance we need to sail west. Next time I’m definitely cruising!”

David Albury

“Pleased to have past the Horn in the style that was to be expected – ie very wet!”

Mark Setrem

“I can now add Cape Horn to the number of significant sailing landmarks I have missed due to being on mother watch.”

The most recent news from Cape Horn shows that Team Stelmar, who had to divert to Chile yesterday to drop off a sick crew member, has now re-joined the race. Paula Reid – Team Stelmar crewmember – sent this message yesterday:

“We are currently rounding Cape Horn! It is eight miles away and we can see it through the clouds as a very large, pointy piece of land. Impressively large considering how far away it is.

“Weather’s quite rough, sea’s rough, winds 38 knots.

“We had an amazing experience dropping Karen off at Puerto Williams. Motored along amazing scenery, had a Naval reception, they presented us with their flag, we gave them our hand made one we’d knocked up for courtesy.

“Karen was whisked away for routine tests. We took some photos and then motored back to the point we’d turned round. Took about 15 hours altogether.”