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Barcelona World Race: Three years later, the legend of Cape Horn grows

by Barcelona World Race 25 Feb 2018 14:36 GMT 12 January 2019
Barcelona World Race © Barcelona World Race

Three years ago, Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam, as they led the Barcelona World Race fleet, rounded Cape Horn, the round the world race's grand challenge. The legendary cape, which will be even harder to navigate in the next edition, is both a challenge for safety and a landmark for environmental sustainability for planet Earth. To commemorate the fleet's rounding of the great cape in the last edition, the Barcelona World Race has kicked off its "Cape Horn week", with special features and content on social networks and the web.

On this day, three years ago, at 01:00 UTC (02:00 in Barcelona and 22:00 in Chile) Cheminées Poujoulat, impeccably driven by Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam, rounded the legendary 'cape at the end of the world' as leaders of the Barcelona World Race. The world of ocean racing's attention was fixed on the southernmost point of the South American continent, as fans followed the rounding of sailing's most treacherous cape in history since its discovery four centuries ago.

Stamm and Le Cam were completing their Southern Ocean stretch of the race and after sailing between the cape and Antarctica they began their climb back up the Atlantic after 55 days and 13 hours at sea. At this point, they had sailed 16,400 theoretical miles (30,373 km) and they still had 6,900 miles (12,779 km) ahead to finish the regatta. "We've been sailing with big waves, high winds and low temperatures for five weeks. Now we're turning left, heading north and towards milder temperatures", said Le Cam. Stamm said, "This is a milestone which means we're climbing back up. It's a passage that is truly special, packed with history... it is all of that, all at once".

The sporting significance of rounding the cape stands out for two reasons: it means an end to the hellish sailing conditions of the Southern Ocean and it requires careful strategy in terms of meteorology, as storms and swell can be particularly violent at 56ºS at the cape. In the next Barcelona World Race 2018/19, which starts on the 12th of January with a stopover in Sydney, the fleet will round the Horn towards the end of March, in the south's autumn, which means it's likely the boats will go up against even more treacherous conditions.

Chile, a unique and protected environment

The Chilean Navy, which has some of the longest coastline in the world under its jurisdiction, will be at Cape Horn watching over the Barcelona World Race skippers. From the Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre in the area, the navy will be maximising security measures for the Barcelona World Race fleet, which is the best support the skippers could enjoy.

It is not only the coastline at Cape Horn that is exceptional, with the surrounding land offering spectacular scenery which is vital to the balance of planet Earth. There are vast natural parks across the Tierra del Fuego area which hold some of our planet's ancestral secrets and are managed based on a unique environmental model.

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