"We rounded Cape Horn at 0430 UT on 11th February. A 25-knot south of south-west wind, flying the big gennaker and mainsail. A beautiful moonlit night, so we had a clear view of Cape Horn." said Mike Quilter, Club Med's navigator.
As incredible as it may seem, it took The Race leader just 41 days and 9 hours to round Cape Horn, a sign of deliverance from the Southern Ocean and a new trigger for the home stretch up to Marseille. Club MEd has crossed the Indian and Pacific Oceans in under 22 days. To put it another way, she has sailed from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Horn in just over three weeks. Innovation Explorer will be rounding the legendary rock on Monday in daylight hours and Team Adventure is getting ready to stop once again but this time in Wellington due to further delamination problems. The little Warta-Polpharma is surfing along on the crest of a wave of happiness a little under 1000 miles from Cam Lewis's giant, whilst Team Legato is grappling with light winds.
Club MEd has turned her back on the Southern Ocean and will be encountering rather more familiar weather systems, the Saint Helena High, the Doldrums, the Azores High and the Mediterranean with its fickle winds. At the 11h000 GMT position fix, the first-placed boat had a 821.7-mile lead over Innovation Explorer. Elena Caputo (Innovation Explorer) described their weather conditions on the run in the the Horn. "We've got three reefs in the main and the wind is picking up. Yes, the wind is on the increase and it is already between 25 and 40 knots. Quite a strong blow is forecast but it would appear that the low is going to show up a bit later than planned. So, we should be getting round the Horn with a maximum wind of 40 knots and well before the low". Although Elena has already lived through a fair number of hairy moments in ocean racing, she knows that it is best to avoid arranging meeting up with a major low pressure system in the famous Drake Passage. The winds have great fun picking up between the two continents and the waves are oversized due to the steep rise in the ocean bed.
Team Adventure has announced that she is to stop once again but in Wellington. "We have examined the internal structure of the fore beam in detail and we have not come across any problem with regard to the repairs and changes made on our previous pitstop in Cape Town, " writes Cam Lewis in the official Team Adventure press release sent out at 4h00 GMT. "But strips of the fore beam's outer skin are coming away over a surface area of two metres, an area which is constantly struck by the waves. So long as the structure is sound, we don't have any choice but to repair the outer skin."
This is a bad twist of fate for the maxi-catamaran and her Franco-American crew which is going to have to stop for 60 hours (48 hours for the first stop + 12 hours for each stop thereafter), in accordance with the rules of the race in the event of outside assistance. Team Adventure should be arriving in Wellington on Tuesday morning where everything is getting organised, with the arrival of American composite materials specialists.
Warta-Polpharma is continuing to surf on the side-effects of a low and is celebrating a three day performance at a daily average of nearly 470 miles. With the giant's port call in Wellington, the Polish boat is in with a chance of place among the top three! Team Legato is grappling with much lighter air She has lost a bit of ground to Roman Paskze's boat and is now lying 1 025 miles behind.
Ranking (11/02/01 15:00:00 GMT)
Name Speed DTF DTL
1 Club MEd 20.0 6862.5 0
2 Innovation Explorer 27.1 7677.6 815.1
3 TeamAdventure 8.2 12064.4 5202.0
4 Warta Polpharma 13.1 12920.4 6057.9
5 Team Legato 11.4 13956.8 7094.3