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15 February 2001, 11:26 am
Rough Seas At Cape Horn
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"We've got more or less 40 knots of wind with gusts of 45 knots. There are waves all over the place, fairly tall and very short. The sea is very nasty and it is whiter than it is blue!" said Elena Caputo calmly on Innovation Explorer, just 20 miles fr...
Loick Peyron's maxi-catamaran is 131 miles from cape Horn but the wind coming from behind means he must tack downwind. "We will not be at Cape Horn before 1800 GMT" finished Elena. Club Med is flying along in 25 knots of wind on a North-easterly heading. They are at the moment halfway between the latitudes of Cape Horn and Mar del Plata, or exactly 700 miles from both. Team Adventure, who officially announced an impending stopover in yesterday afternoon, is currently bogged down in the anticyclone centred on the Tasman Sea. "It's the cherry on the cake!" exclaimed Jean-Yves Bernot on Cam Lewis's maxi-catamaran. You must admit that the situation is not exactly easy when you have to get the most out of a 5 knot wind - on the nose! Warta-Polpharma's bows are beginning to taste the Pacific and a third place on the podium but the Poles kept radio silence for today's chat session. For Team Legato, the wind is picking up again but they're still a long way behind Roman Paszke and his men.

Innovation Explorer is less than 40 miles from the Chilean coast level with the Beagle Channel and the shoals. Whilst Cape Horn is now but a few hours away, thoughts on board are for the moment on this wretched force 7 to 8 West-north-westerly that is forcing them to tack before they can round the mythical rock. "We are going to have to gybe two or three times yet before the Drake Channel" said Elena signing off, who underlined the difficulty in steering in these sea conditions that resembled something more akin to a boiling cauldron than an albeit "Pacific" ocean!

For Club Med, it couldn't be going better... 574 miles in the last 24 hours at the 1100 GMT position report at 25.1 knots average. The leader is heading North-east and after having brushed to leeward of the Falkland Islands, Mike Quilter (the boat's navigator) and Roger "Clouds" Badham (the router) have flushed out a "little" 20 knot South-easterly that is propelling the boat at more than decent speeds. "We are always between 25 and 30 knots", said Jacques Caraðs during the daily chat session. "We are sailing at 115° to the apparent wind but in a rather rough sea all the same". Needless to say that while the ambient temperature is still cold Club Med is still devouring the miles and has an 897 mile lead over Innovation Explorer. "Anyway, for the moment it's OK but there is going to be a little accordion effect in Loick's favour when we get into the high pressure further up" ended Jacques. But they must remain cautious at all times as underlined by Grant Dalton, who reminds us that the area between Cape Horn and the Equator is where the greatest number of breakages occur (dismastings, etc...). After the rigs have suffered the assault of the winds and seas of the Southern Ocean, the boats must then beat to windward up the South American coast in a choppy sea, a perfect cocktail for punishing the rather weakened boats.

Ranking (12/02/01 15:00:00)

Name Speed DTF DTL
1 Club Med 19.0 6288.2 0
2 Innovation Explorer 26.0 7192.6 904.4
3 TeamAdventure 3.4 11958.4 5670.2
4 Warta Polpharma 5.2 12617.4 6329.2
5 Team Legato 14.3 13610.6 7322.4
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