The Vendée Globe's youngest and oldest skippers have rounded Cape Horn andpassed into the Atlantic. Swiss sailor Alan Roura, at 23 years old the 'baby' of the Vendée Globe fleet, passed the iconic landmark for the first time at 1639 UTC yesterday in 13th place. Less than 12 hours later the race's elder statesman, 66yearold American skipper Rich Wilson, followed suit, rounding Cape Horn at 0257 UTC today.
The two sailors, split in age by 43 years, have become close after spending much of the race battling against one another and sharing their experiences over email and VHF. Roura described his first ever rounding of Cape Horn, one of the greatest achievements for a sailor, as “magnificent” as he passed in Force 7 breeze and big waves. “I was closeto it coming within two miles in 33 knots of wind in heavy seas,” Roura said. “It was magnificent, just as I imagined. Albatrosseseverywhere, the sea looking black and white, beautiful skies, even if the sun was not out in several shades of grey, with very dark clouds and lots of squalls. I am at the end of the world, the mostsoutherly headland and it’s absolutely incredible. This moment is forever etched on my mind. It is the Holy Grail for sailors and now I’m here. I have succeeded in my Vendée Globe challenge. I have been through the Southern Ocean. I am thinking about all those, who had to stopbefore getting this far. I’m proud of myself and what I have done. I’m so lucky to be here. It’s simply fantastic!”
This morning Roura's yacht La Fabrique was around 110 nautical miles northeast of Wilson's Great American IV. Roura has chosen to take an unconventional route through the Le Maire View the online version
Age no barrier as Roura and Wilson round Cape Horn
Strait, a narrow stretch of water between mainland Tierra del Fuego and Staten Island. Wilson, meanwhile, opted to steer clear of the biggest seas closest to land, passing Cape Horn by some 30nm to the south. “As the group of four approached from the west in strong winds it looked as though the first couple of boats would be able to get across the continental shelf before the strong winds came down from Chile,” Wilson explained. “The water goes from 12,000ft to 600ft in a matter of 10 miles or so. If the waves are coming in from the west they can bounce off the coast and ricochet back out to sea with some level of intensity. I just didn't think getting close to that was a wise move.”
Meanwhile at the head of the fleet Armel Le Cléac'h has maintained his 75nm lead over second
placed Alex Thomson overnight with just 600nm left to go. Thomson yesterday reported problems with his steering, due to a certain level of play in the rudders, that he said he would be able to fix once the winds lightened off asthe pair head into high pressure. Le Cléac'h was slightly quicker this morning, at the 0400 UTC report making 16.9 knots compared to Thomson's 16.1. Both skippers are expected to arrive at the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, on Thursday.
Highlights from week 10 of the Vendée Globe: