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21 April 2005, 10:15 am
MoviStar Rounds Cape Horn
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

MoviStar, Spain's entry to the Volvo Ocean Race, has rounded Cape Horn, Chile. In just two weeks, she has sailed the 4,300 miles from Wellington, New Zealand to the southernmost tip of the American continent, crossing from the Southern Ocean to the Atlantic - a journey during which the crew has faced every possible difficulty.
2004 49er Olympic Champion, Iker MARTÍNEZ (ESP) is one of the most experienced and successful fleet racing sailors Spain has produced. However, this is his first ever Southern Ocean crossing for the team's offshore helmsman and one that is throwing up everything the ocean can offer: 'we have come across every sea and wind combination that one can encounter sailing; from winds over 40 knots with monster waves and snow, to dead calms, sailing at 5 knots with the sea like a mirror.'

'There were some moments of relaxation, like the day after the record [MoviStar recently set the 24 hour distance record for a monohull], when we sailed with a soft breeze that allowed us to regain our strength and make small repairs. We also had to suffer the worst the Southern Ocean had to throw at us; last Tuesday night, the wind picked up from 20 to 40 knots in just a few seconds, and we started flying over the waves at a speed of 30 knots. At moments like these, you really appreciate the boat's solid construction, and the fact that the safety harnesses are working!'

Commenting on his first crossing MARTÍNEZ said, 'we made the crossing at night; sailing very close to the rocks, with a wind speed between 20 and 25 knots, over a flat sea. For Xabi [FERNÁNDEZ (ESP), jib trimmer] and myself, this was our first rounding of Cape Horn, and the guys threw us a small party. Someone even produced some cigars!'

'It was very exciting, being there and thinking that we were finally rounding Cape Horn, ' added FERNÁNDEZ. 'We have not come across any icebergs throughout the journey, and according to Bouwe [BEKKING (NED), the skipper] we should be thankful for having met such favourable conditions.'

This ocean training is proving to be a success in terms of the schedule established by BEKKING and Pedro CAMPOS (ESP), General Manager and inshore helmsman: 'As far as Cape Horn is concerned, the balance is nothing but positive,' said CAMPOS. 'It's great that we have been able to test the boat's behaviour in such a wide range of conditions, and we have collected a great amount of very valuable information. Furthermore, we have confirmed with satisfaction that the training schedule that took us so much time and effort, is starting to yield results'.

After 4,300 miles of sailing and making history by setting a new world record, which has now been ratified by the World Speed Sailing Record Council, the mood on board is excellent. 'The work is hard, very hard. We have just a few minutes between shifts and rest to think of little else but work. However, the team spirit is fantastic. Even though we had some very difficult moments, knowing you are backed by such a capable crew gives you confidence,' explained FERNÁNDEZ.

'The cold temperatures were the worst of this trip to Cape Horn,' MARTÍNEZ added. 'Down here, so close to the South Pole, priorities change dramatically. Now I understand Bouwe when he told us that in these circumstances, all you dream of is a pair of dry socks'.

Once the boat had reached the Atlantic Ocean, having rounded Cape Horn, MoviStar has set a course north, bound for Rio de Janeiro. 'Now that we have gone as far south as we planned, conditions should start to improve,' said watch captain Stu BANNATYNE. 'We are sailing close hauled for the first time since we departed New Zealand, and, when we sail past Staten Island, it will be sailing north all the way. We still have to sail a further 2,400 miles to Rio, but at least we will have left the Southern Ocean behind.'

Navigator, Andrew CAPE (AUS), says the team should arrive in Rio de Janeiro between 20-22 April. 'We sailed more than 500 miles on average some days, but on others, we did not cover such long distances. From now on, we will be following the currents flowing from the south until we reach the warm waters of the Brazil current'.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The success MoviStar team:© Event Media
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