LOCATION: 100 miles E of Tierra Del Fuego
BOATSPEED: 4.9 KTS
WINDSPEED: 6.2 KTS
DISTANCE TO FINISH: 1,785 miles
Cape Horn looked like any other rugged seaside outcropping on the horizon, jagged and torn from years of constant battering much like the kind we just spent 12 days enduring. As we approached though, sailing past snow-capped mountains and a brilliant red sunrise, I began to realize that the Horn’s spectacle is not in its beauty but its significance. This is Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America, and the southernmost point of land on earth. It is cold, dark, and raw, and the living is tough. And as impressive as the rock stood, it stands for so much more: it represents total challenge and rewards those who accept it responsibly.
I would guess there are fewer people who have sailed around Cape Horn the way we have, suffering what we did, than who have climbed Mount Everest. And looking at that ominous island today, I realized that I pushed myself and my limits well beyond the point I ever thought possible...not even close. Odds are, most everyone who first journey’s around that point feels a similar prick of pride.
So yes, today we sailed by a big black rock with green stuff growing on the side. But today we also accomplished something great. That Southern Ocean leg was one for the ages, and we made it here together. We did it the right way, the safe way, and we had fun doing it. Handshakes, smiles, cigars, and a swig of rum confirmed that there was something to celebrate – something very different for everyone – and then we were on our merry way again, eyes aimed north towards Brazil.
But after all the revelry, when I put my camera down below to start on lunch, I realized I never really took the time to remember, to look with my eyes. So I walked up on deck, stood by the back rail, and watched Cape Horn fade into the distance.
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“I’ve rounded Cape Horn five times now. That’s four too many!” – Jono Swain