With less than a thousand miles to go to the Horn, IDEC SPORT is charging ahead towards the third and final major cape in the round the world voyage. In a twenty-knot westerly wind, the six men are pushing hard, foot on the accelerator with a series of gybes in this final stretch in the extreme south. This morning sailing at between the 57th and 58th parallel, Francis Joyon, Alex Pella, Sébastien Audigane, Gwénolé Gahinet, Clément Surtel and Bernard Stamm have taken their lead to 1700 miles in this Jules Verne Trophy attempt.
Extending their lead by 300 miles since yesterday, Francis Joyon is not hiding the fact that he has a few worries about getting around the Cape. He is expecting light winds and even calms, which would slow them down considerably as they prepare to enter the Atlantic. To deal with this area with all its uncertainties, Francis Joyon and the router Marcel van Triest hope to reach the tip of Tierra del Fuego from the north to benefit from a more favourable air stream. This morning after moving to 57°S to avoid encountering an iceberg or growlers, the red and grey trimaran has already moved back up several degrees of latitude with the wind from astern.
The next 24 hours look tense as they approach the famous cape. The six of them may have clocked up more than fifteen roundings of Cape Horn, but they are all looking forward to getting back to warmer climes and making their way back up the South Atlantic. “This is always a big moment. Our race strategy changes at that moment. We go from what is sometimes close to survival mode to much more comfortable and normal sailing,” explained the skipper of IDEC SPORT, who will be rounding the Cape for the fifth time.