Mike Golding (Gamesa) in sixth place rounded Cape Horn this morning at 02.05 GMT and became the only person to have raced around this infamous rock three times each way: west to east and east to west.
After taking something of a beating in the east Pacific Ocean over recent days, with stormy gusts to 45 knots and very big and confused seas and with the proliferation of ice, which has drifted north on to the race track, made this, his most stressful rounding yet.
"I think there has probably been ice before, but we just did not know about it and went around blissfully unaware in years gone by. But now with the ice-tracking technology available to the race, we are all the more aware and it is much more stressful,"
Golding first rounded 20 years ago during the 1992-1993 British Steel Challenge. He rounded again when he set a new record in his solo east to west circumnavigation in 1993-1994 backed by Group 4. He returned again in 1996-1997 en route to winning the BT Global Challenge. Now with his third Vendée Globe rounding solo, he extends his existing record.
His focus will be on the Atlantic ahead and catching Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel
) if he can. Last night, Le Cam was sailing slowly downwind and in very light conditions. Over the last 24 hours, the skipper of SynerCiel covered only 180 miles on the direct route, and since the last ranking, has a speed of 3.9 knots.
Le Cléac'h's tight grip
Further north, the two leaders are experiencing a consistent twenty knots of wind on the nose. They will need to be patient before they experience downwind conditions and comfort onboard. But as always as they sail past the beaches of Brazil the warmer temperatures of the air and water are a welcome relief for their bodies after the icy, cold of the deep south. Le Cléac'h may have relented some miles yesterday but he is determined those will be his last. His sights firmly set on his objective, "to finish the Vendée Globe better than second."
Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3
) must keep a close watch on Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss
). Thomson is sailing a course between the land and Virbac Paprec 3.
The weather for Thomson is not simple, but it looks like he will have a better wind angle for his Atlantic ascent. With 157 miles behind separating them, it is likely that the fight will be a tough one.
After the Horn passage of Golding in the early hours of the morning, the 60th day of racing will be marked by the arrival of the Swiss, Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud
) and Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat
). The Swiss will round the Horn within a few miles of each other. Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud
), will have his sights set on his goal, Mike Golding (Gamesa
) a 100 miles in front. In stark contrast to Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat
), whose plan is to find his friend Unai Bazurko to pick up some the fuel. Mirabaud is currently 90 miles away from the Horn this morning at 11:30 GMT. At 300 miles to the rock, Arnaud Bossières (Akena Verandas
) and Javier Sanso (Acciona
) will be the next Cape Horners.
Further back, Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM
) and Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur
) head for the last gate of Eastern Pacific. Last night, Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur
) reported problems with his gennaker halyard and came above deck to discover his gennaker was in the ocean being dragged alongside his boat. In addition, he has damaged his mainsail and so is forced to sail under reef until he can fix it. "It took me two hours to bring it onboard and to put it in the sail locker. The sail is a little torn but will be reusable. It has not damaged the hydro-generator, which was in the water at this time. To facilitate the operation, I put the boat in front of the wind and the first reef bump broke because of the waves. Because of this, a tear appeared in the mainsail. This tear is repairable but it won't allow me to use the full mainsail until then. I knew something like that should happen to me in the Pacific because I had to have something to remember from this part of the world. Now I'm going to rest a little. Everything is under control,"
wrote de Lamotte, in an email to Race HQ.
In the final position and still under the influence of the northwest wind, Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique
) has the record of the day with 381.1 miles in 24 hours. Team Plastique is rocketing along at 17 knots is about 140 miles from the west gate Pacific.
Vendee Globe Website