BG Spirit is currently leading the Global Challenge as the fleet heads towards Cape Horn on the second leg of the race

BG Spirit is currently leading the Global Challenge as the fleet heads towards Cape Horn on the second leg of the race.

They left Buenos Aires over a week ago (28 November) and the majority of the fleet is still tightly bunched with just three miles separating 7th and 11th positions, with absolutely nothing between the four yachts from third to sixth. Me to You, VAIO, BP Explorer and Team Stelmar are all 16nm off the lead and in the group at the tail end, Barclays Adventurer and Team Save the Children are both exactly 25nm behind the leader. The fleet is now round the tip of South America and is heading in south-westerly direction for Cape Horn.

The most recent news from the leading boat BG Spirit gives an indication of the crew morale as they head for the much-anticipated landmark.

Robin Hyde commented last Tuesday: “Everyone is slightly apprehensive over what lies ahead on this leg, currently the winds are light and sea is smooth, if at this moment I had a gin and tonic in my hand I would think I was on holiday. But we know things are going to change once we turn right and we are going to get a little taste of this over the next 48 hours with the appearance of some fronts. I must say I can’t wait to be able to bore people to death by telling them I have sailed around the Horn!”

Marina Kniestedt added: “Heading south through the ‘roaring forties’ has been very pleasant, mostly reaching conditions with plenty of sunshine and flat seas. As we entered the ‘furious fifties’ the winds were light and I thought we’d be in for a more leisurely journey past the Falklands and onwards to Cape Horn. No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than the wind increased to 27 knots and it’s direction came further forward, calling for a round of headsail changes and reefed mainsail.

“Ocean survival suits are now the most popular attire for deck wear, keeping us relatively dry as the icy cold waves crash over with more frequency now. Thermals are being layered on day and night, and sleeping bags are tightly zipped up – feels heavenly to be snug and warm – and funny that less than a week ago we were still in shorts and t-shirts!

“We’re always keeping an eye out for any variety of wildlife to entertain us whilst on deck, and yesterday didn’t disappoint with sightings of several pilot whales and a seal who was desperately trying to catch us up from behind to no avail. Soon we’ll be rounding Cape Horn, a first for us all on board BG SPIRIT, and then making a right turn for New Zealand.”