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. Woooow! At 23:15 UTC I saw the land appear between two clouds! It’s an island, but it’s part of the continent.
I haven’t seen anything like this since the start. It’s 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. We’ll see, I’m going their way.
The wind spun up and forced me to gybe again. Now I’m 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, God’s 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 it’s 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 there’s the blue stripe of the sunset on the horizon, as it looks across above the Antarctic. It doesn’t 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 don’t leave the cape too fast. I’ll 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 don’t want to be surprised so I won’t go any closer to the sleeping bear.
On 9th January at 05:00 UTC I gybed to port tack. From now I’m 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. I’ve been cooling the champagne for five weeks, it’s ready to be opened. I’ve 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 we’re finished.
At 06:40 UTC this morning, I passed the longitude of Cape Horn, so I'm in the Atlantic again.
Source: Nandor Fa (www.vendeeglobe.org)