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Round the Horn, at last

© Hamish Hooper / CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand / Volvo Ocean Race
© Hamish Hooper / CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand / Volvo Ocean Race

CAMPER have rounded Cape Horn, marking a major milestone in their Leg 5 journey that will see them sail an extra 2,000 nautical miles and spend an additional10 days at sea than the rest of the fleet.

Skipper Chris Nicholson and his crew rounded the cape at 0025 UTC without so much as a glimpse at it, Media Crew Member Hamish Hooper reported on Wednesday.

Despite being unable to sight the cape, the team were still satisfied by the knowledge that they had reached the “Holy Grail” of sailing and were leaving the Southern Ocean in their wake, Hooper said.

“Unfortunately when we rounded it was dark, no moon to even lighten it for a slight sighting,’’ he said.

“For some reason this doesn’t seem to bother me, more often than not it would with a landmark like this, but I guess it illustrates the relief and jubilation of finally making our way north out of the relentless Southern Ocean.”

Hooper was one of three on board who rounded Cape Horn for the first time including helmsman/bowman Daryl Wislang and helmsman/trimmer Adam Minoprio.

Fortunately the first-timers had the guidance of helmsman/trimmer Tony Rae and co-skipper Stu Bannatyne, who have rounded the cape four and seven times respectively.

Hooper described the past weeks spent racing in the Southern Ocean, diverting to the Chilean port of Puerto Montt for repairs and finally rounding the cape as “quite the adventure”, while admitting he was happy to see the back of it all.

“It is an amazing place to be and experience, but it’s definitely not the kind of place you want to hang around too long,’’ he said. “You are always just a bit on edge down here. It is fierce, raw and inhospitable, but it is stunning and mystical and I am glad to have visited.”

Skipper Chris Nicholson said it was late in the year to be rounding the fickle cape, but having suffered structural damage to CAMPER, which forced the team to suspend racing on April 3 and resume on April 8, there was little choice.

“Ideally you want to be doing this in February, but there have been a few little delays,’’ he said. “It’s been quite a marathon really for all of us in the team to get here at this stage. We would have done an extra 2,000 miles than everyone else, and taken 10 days longer.”


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