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Global Ocean Race Leg 3 - Day 30

by Oliver Dewar on 27 Feb 2012 27 February 2012

The South Africans round Cape Horn with Class40 Phesheya-Racing

There are mixed fortunes for the Global Ocean Race (GOR) Class40 trio in the South Atlantic and the Southern Ocean. Leading the fleet towards the Leg 3 finish line in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Conrad Colman – who has just been made Seahorse Magazine’s Sailor of the Month – and his South African co-skipper, Adrian Kuttel, stayed in strong winds, but punishing seas, as they chased the low pressure eastwards into the South Atlantic with Cessna Citation, hanging onto the strong south-westerlies and attempting to avoid the light airs lurking in the system’s path.

West of the Falkland Islands by 150 miles in second place, Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon with Financial Crisis have sailed straight into strong headwinds west of the Falklands delivering hellish conditions and frustratingly slow progress, Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire finally broke free of un-readable weather conditions on Phesheya-Racing, passing the Diego Ramirez Islands at the western entrance to Drake Passage and crossing the Felipe Cubillos Cape Horn Gate at 18:01:54 GMT, passing 13 miles south of the notorious cape.

For the South Africans on Phesheya-Racing, the confusing weather forecasts continued to bare no relation to reality throughout the weekend, but on Sunday night, progress began for Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire 100 miles south-west of Cape Horn and, by Monday morning, they passed the Diego Ramirez Islands, a remote Chilean territory marking the southern end of the submerged Andes mountain range at the western entrance to Drake Passage.

With their first sighting of land for 29 days, birdlife increased dramatically: “There were three or four types of Albatross being spotted in the last hour, along with Cape petrels, Storm-petrels and several other species,” says Leggatt of their passage passed the rocky outcrop. For Hutton-Squire, the sudden proximity of land following a month in the watery desert of the Southern Ocean was a revelation: “This is very exciting and a wonderful comfort feeling that is hard to describe,” she says. “Being out in the middle of nowhere for so many days where you know that only a plane can drop supplies to you, but you can't be rescued is a strange feeling,” reveals Hutton-Squire. “It is fantastic to know that land and help are now close by.”

Later the same day, Phehseya-Racing crossed the Felipe Cubillos Cape Horn Gate winning the GOR’s Cape Horn Navigation Award instituted by GOR Race Committee member, Alan Green, for submitting their predicted Cape Horn ETA to within an astonishing one minute and 54 seconds when 1,000 miles west of the longitude of the Horn.

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