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14 March 2005, 12:17 pm
Daedalus Rounds Cape Horn
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Oryx Quest 2005

At 1000 GMT on Monday Daedalus rounded Cape Horn 50 miles to the south of the island. They are on a direct course for the Strait of Le Maire sailling at 16 knots.
For Tony BULLIMORE (GBR) and his team on Daedalus it will be a relief to finally be out of the Southern Ocean heading for warmer weather. BULLIMORE's log describes the conditions they have had for the past few days.

'We are going due east with 30 knots of blisteringly cold winds continuously flowing over the decks,' he wrote. 'First we had hail stones bouncing off the deck sounding like several machine guns being fired at the same time. Then it went quite and along came the snow, and within minutes the boat and any of the crew that stood on her decks were slowly going white. Jimmy DUNNING (GBR), who is responsible for taking the video and still pictures that helps to tell our story, was out on deck with the camera happily clicking in all directions.'

Later in his log BULLIMORE talks about the cold. 'Right now it is very cold. We have gray skies, the seas are not too high, but they look a little menacing. The wind is dragging the temperature down, the wind chill factor etc, and we are all tucked up safe, either on watch steering Daedalus, or holding the end of ropes ready to ease them out when the gusts come, or we are below decks wrapped up in sleeping bags trying to be as warm as possible and trying to get as much sleep as possible in the very difficult conditions.'

On board Doha 2006 the conditions are different although the temperature is starting to drop again after a week of balmy trade wind sailing under a bright Southern Hemisphere sun. Brian THOMPSON (GBR) and his navigator, Will OXLEY (AUS), have been hard at work studying the weather charts looking for a smooth rounding of the Cape of Good Hope 1,600 miles away. The situation is becoming complicated as the South Atlantic High once more presents a tactical challenge.

The earlier front that gave them a fast ride from Los Lobos had squished the high pressure into a ridge that extends well south. In order for them to skirt the high to avoid slowing in the light winds, they are going to have to sail under the high meaning that they are going to have to head well south of Cape Town. OXLEY explains. 'With a comfortable lead in our race we have been looking to stay north and in the sunshine for as long as possible before turning the corner and heading north for Mauritius,' he wrote. 'Unfortunately the wind gods have deemed that we have had enough of a good thing and it is getting more complicated up ahead. In order to avoid being completely trapped by a high pressure system and no wind we are having to dive south. We then have to stay south to keep in pressure and avoid headwinds. No one is really looking forward to the cold again, but the thermals are back on, the sea surface temperature charts are being poured over and data is being gathered on the ice sightings in this region.'

The South Atlantic, especially this late in the summer, is littered with ice and presents a very real danger to any boats transiting the region. Orange II, another maxi-catamaran looking to break Cheyenne's outright circumnavigation record, saw ice in this part of the world and so there will soon be an ice watch posted on the Qatari catamaran as they dive further south. At the 0500 GMT poll they were already well into the Roaring Forties sailing at a latitude 500 miles south of South Africa.

Both boats still have a long way to go to the finish in Qatar. At the 0500 poll Daedalus had 10,450 miles to go and Doha 2006 had 6,990 remaining. It is early to be speculating, but OXLEY has been playing with the numbers and puts his thoughts on an ETA in his log. 'I still have the 3 April in my head as an arrival date. If we average 15 knots, but lose a day due to calm winds, then we will still make it. On the gloomy side of things we need to average 12.5 knots on course from now to make it within 60 days. Still a long way to go but it's nice to have some targets to keep us focused.'

Brian Hancock (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Daedalus:© Quest International Sports
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