Monday 09 January 2017, 19h45
Spirit of Hungary skipper Nandor Fa
became the eighth Vendee Globe sailor to return to the Atlantic today after passing Cape Horn. In an emotional dispatch from onboard he describes the moments leading up to his fifth Cape Horn rounding.
The leaders get out of the Doldrums
Stricken O'Coineen planning next move1
Photo sent from the boat Spirit of Hungary, on December 23rd, 2016 - Photo Nandor FaPhoto envoyée depuis le bateau Spirit of Hungary le 23 Décembre 2016 - Photo Nandor FaCampbell Islands
Woooow! At 23:15 UTC I saw the land appear between two clouds! Itís an island, but itís part of the continent. I havenít seen anything like this since the start. Itís about 30 miles away from me. On the left in front of me, I see enormous grey masses of clouds, they are created as the mountains push the air upwards and humidity precipitates. They look scary, although I think they are harmless. Weíll see, Iím going their way.
The wind spun up and forced me to gybe again. Now Iím sailing on starboard tack towards SE until it will be worth to gybe back - it depends on the wind and our position to the land. As soon as I was done with the manoeuvre I leaned against the cockpit to watch the cumulus clouds above the Cordilleras. They were enlightened by the beams of the descending sun. Luminous white foams appear then dive under the water, Godís most beautiful creatures the albatross are circling around me like visions of a dream, and I wonder: this is probably the last time I see the rigid wonder this place is. Tears came into my eyes. This is why I came here, to say goodbye to this wild, inscrutable beauty.
The lights of the night are wonderful. Ahead of me itís all greyness, but behind me is the exact opposite: beauty and happiness. On the right I can see the moon in its shiniest glow, the waves below are reflecting it. To the left thereís the blue stripe of the sunset on the horizon, as it looks across above the Antarctic. It doesnít go darker than this, it goes around and comes back here. Soon it will greet me again from the east.
The wind had decreased and slowed me to nine knots. This is perhaps just so that I donít leave the cape too fast. Iíll gybe in 20 miles, from there I will have 15 miles more to go. I will be over the cape by then, but I will be the closest to it - approx. 8 miles away. The wind is light and the streams are strong. I donít want to be surprised so I wonít go any closer to the sleeping bear.
On 9th January at 05:00 UTC I gybed to port tack. From now Iím on the way home. I have to sail 17 more miles to pass the longitudinal point of the cape. Then I will have rounded Cape Horn officially. Iíve been cooling the champagne for five weeks, itís ready to be opened. Iíve already had my celebration feast in the evening, I just need a good cup of tea beside the champagne. There is only a little month of sailing left, and weíre finished.
At 06:40 UTC this morning, I passed the longitude of Cape Horn, so I'm in the Atlantic again.
Source: Nandor Fa