Yesterday Vendee Globe racer Francois Gabart, sailing Macif, rounded Cape Horn after 52 days, six hours and 18 minutes at sea. Normal operating procedure is to drink a toast when rounding the great way station of ocean sailors, but, unfortunately, Gabart, who is the youngest racer in the fleet at 29, didn't have the opportunity to kick back and savor the accomplishment.
As Michel Desjoyeaux, the only skipper to win the Vendee Globe twice, whose company manage Gabart's campaign, commented:
"It is a very emotional moment, but I'm afraid he doesn't have time to enjoy it because the data collected by CLS shows there's ice all over the area. It's hard to tell exactly what type of ice blocks, growlers and icebergs there is but they definitely need to be out on the deck and visually check. You need to stand next to the helm, even if the autopilot is on, because you can grab the helm if necessary or work on the sails if you need to change the heading of the boat very quickly. Radars aren't enough because they can't detect smaller objects."
Nothing like hitting a chunk of ice while rounding the Horn. That would really sour the experience.