Ellen MacArthur rounded Cape Horn this morning at 0746 and is still over four days ahead of Francis Joyon's record

Ellen passed Cape Horn this morning, approximately 35 miles offshore, at approx 0746 GMT, just under 45 days since the start, putting her just over 4 days faster than Joyon’s time.

A huge relief to see Ellen pass this major landmark in the light of the extreme conditions she is enduring onboard B&Q – so extreme that she collapsed with fatigue, and was asleep until just moments after passing the longitude of Horn. Storm conditions are expected to continue all day.

In an e-mail sent at 00:02 this morning on approach to the MacArthur said:

“We are sailing in 30-40 knots right now, and getting very close to our gybe just 45 miles off the coast off western Chile. The seas are monstrous, and as I stand in B&Q’s cockpit I cannot feel that I shall miss this wild and wonderful place.

“Somehow the south finds places inside you that you were unaware you had, it conjours up the most vivid memories, shows you the most unbelievable and breathtaking sights.

“Behind B&Q there is a rain filled squall – but from behind peepes the setting sun. The light beams out a rich powerful, dominant orange over the grey darkness of the clouds – it lights the spray flying from the crests of the waves, giving them a delicate, almost furry texture. How can such a poweful 40ft wave be so delicate?

“As the light gets behind a breaking wave it seems to lift the crest higher – the striking turquoise colour seems as if it’s artificially illuminated from another source; such brilliant colour in an otherwise grey blue sea.

“A lone albatross circles ahead. How many passing ships has he seen I ask? A tear comes to my eye beacause the albatross we see on this voyage are now numbered, their graceful effortless flight, and constant companionship will have to remain etched in my mind till the next time.

“All being well, the next setting sun over B&Q will be one as we leave the southern ocean behind.”