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93 days 22 hours 52 minutes

Spirit of Hungary – Barcelona World Race 10-11th March – heading to Cape Horn

by BWR news: “All alone in the South Pacific now, Spirit of Hungary is in strong SW winds around a deep storm located to their southeast. Renault Captur rounded Cape Horn just ahead of some Storm Force W’ly winds.”

Cheminees Poujoulat has transitioned into the northern hemisphere trades. NE winds are still light, but should be building moderate today as
they progress further north and northwest. Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos are in ENE/E trade winds. These winds will be building slowly and veering to provide some slight faster, wider sailing angles.
We Are Water and One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton continue to sail northeast, with a high pressure spreading east toward them. They will find winds becoming a little unstable today and progress slower, but stronger wind should arrive tomorrow.
Renault Captur rounded Cape Horn just ahead of some Storm Force W’ly winds. It is still windy for them, but they should see winds very slowly easing as they sail northeast.
All alone in the South Pacific now, Spirit of Hungary is in strong SW winds around a deep storm located to their southeast.

The Spirit of Hungary can expect something similar too, when rounding Cape Horn, which is going to happen around 14th March …here we can see, what conditions the Renault Capture had experienced in the area. Let’s see what skippers’ said below (source: BWR news):

by EMAILS FROM THE BOATS – Mar 10, 2015 23:13  This Cape Horn has been bl**dy hot for Renault CAPTUR, even as I write we sill have 40-50kts gusting to 60kts. We are virtually trying to run with a big depression known by some meteorolgists as a meteorlogical bomb. At Cape Horn, the escape from the South,  we passed in front of the front. The wind was really beginning to pick up and 1.5 miles from the coast the big gusts started combined with beautiful waves, but in the next bay after the really big winds settled in and the first gust came in at 71kts sent us reeling. Fortunately it did not last, we could roll in the J3 and head downwind with it reaching to 50kts, gusting 60kts.

 So Jorg enters the Cape Horn legend and will now be able to piss in the wind, like the song says. For me it is my fourth and the most difficult yet, not least trying to stay alert and look after our injured boat. The South has been true to its reputation, windy. Very windy. The Pacific Ocean has not spared us, rudder problem, turn back, technical stop, separated from our rivals by a depression, and now a meteorological bomb, which hit us a bit. Now we hope we will get to Barcelona without any more problems. And why not even get closer to and see more of our rivals. Meantime we are not done yet, we still have the lay line to the east of Staten Island that we have to manage Seb and Jorg 56 ° 07’099 N / 064 ° 15’475W”

BWR NEWS MAR 10, 2015 17:32  Skippers’ quotes:

SpiritofHungary©onboard BWR Mar11DSC_0907-1

SpiritofHungary©onboardphoto BWR Mar11 – heading to Cape Horn in the South Pacific strong conditions BArcelona World Race 2014-2015

Nandor Fa skipper of the  Spirit of Hungary:

“We have quite difficult and tough conditions at the moment. Outside there is 38-48 knots of wind from the south-west, and we are making progress but it is really tough sailing. Big waves, very aggressive new waves, and a difficult life on board.

“Basically we are happy because we have good winds and good progress to the east at the moment, towards Cape Horn. But the conditions are quite tough and we are fighting. We have of course small problems all the time in these conditions, but we solve these problems and right now we are sailing with 13-22 knots of speed. This is quite rough and the boat is moving very much, so the life is not easy on board. But anyway, we are ok!

“Right now we have big waves, and since more than a day – one or two days – we have strong-westerly winds and now we have about 4-5 metres of waves. Sometimes the boat lays down, and after this of course you have to keep going. 

“If we can follow the weather forecast we would have the same winds for the next two or three days, and maybe a little bit lighter conditions closer to the Cape Horn. 

“Fortunately our autopilot is working perfectly and we do not have to go out and hand-steer. It would be very difficult because outside is very cold, the water is very cold and the air also very cold – less than 10 degrees, and freezing cold. So if we are going out for sail changes or any kind of work half an hour is enough in these conditions.

“I feel now that [Cape Horn] is quite far away, about five days, but we expecting lighter winds and better conditions than we have now. But nothing is sure. In twodays or three days we will be able to see much more precisely what we can expect, but I say again as far as we can we can have nice, lighter conditions.

“I don’t think about the end of the South because it’s not the end. When we round Cape Horn we’ll be near the end, but we’re not there. 

“Also after Cape Horn around the Falkland Islands can be tough conditions so not only until Cape Horn is passed but a couple of days after the Horn we’ll also be deep in the South and they can be very tough. So I don’t think about how it will end!”

Conrad Colman Spirit of Hungary  co-skipper Ship’s log March 10th

It feels a little lonely out here in the middle of the South Pacific, what with the rest of our fleet already around the Horn and the Volvo guys still tucked up in Auckland. For company we only have a monster depression centered south east of us and directly on our route. At 2000 miles across and with a deep center at 968 mb this is the real deal. We are broad reaching in a solid 40 knots with three reefs and the staysail, which feels pretty conservative, but when the 50 knot gusts roll through we wouldn’t want anything more up! Despite the strong conditions the sky is pretty clear and the remains of the moon are strong enough reflect the white foamy lips of the breaking swells that surround us. Still building, the swells are already the size of small houses and when we surf down them, fall off them or crash into them it gets dark inside during the day as tons of water and foam block the light through our bulletproof polycarbonate windows. In an effort to keep the bow up we have the aft ballast full and the Code 0 and J1 jib stacked aft on deck.

I woke up from a nap with a scream from Nandor and expected to see him receding in our wake, my ever present nightmare since I almost lost a co-skipper in my last race around the world. Thankfully he was still on board but was struggling to keep the J1 on board as the waves had minced the sail bag, spilling the loops of the furled sail into the water like links of sausage. We managed to get the sail inside by working together under a constant deluge of ice water and were reminded again how quickly situations can get out of hand in this most unforgiving ocean.

When we round the Horn in a few days time it will be because we escaped, not because we conquered the craziest race course in the world. We just passed underneath Point Nemo, the most islolated place on earth. Half way between Chile and the Chatham Islands east-west and halfway between Antartica and the tropical Pitcairn Islands to the north. However, saying that a tropical island and the frozen chunks to the south is “land” is pushing it, as if we needed refuge we would basically be chosing between Tom Hanks in “Castaway” (without Wilson) or Ernest Shackleton’s ordeal in the icebergs. Even the International Space Station is closer to land than we are, at only a few hundred kilometers up! We have a pretty wild ride ahead to close out the Pacific, but at least we are getting what was on the menu! Order’s up!

Meanwhile the leader of the fleet flying to Barcelona: Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam covered approximately 4,000 miles from the tip of South America to the latitude of 0 degrees in just 12 days, 19 hours and 57 minutes, the fastest crossing of the South Atlantic yet by an IMOCA 60 – in the last edition of the Barcelona World Race Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron on Virbac Paprec 3 took 15 days, 1 hour and 50 minutes, whilst in 2009 solo sailor Francois Gabart completed the same section of ocean in 13 days 19 hours and 21 minutes.

For Le Cam and Stamm, the rapid crossing represents a significant psychological step closer to home. With around 2,800 miles theoretically left to sail, the circumnavigation is far from over, but Le Cam explained that mentally, the final miles of the North Atlantic always seem to pass much more quickly than the equivalent miles of desolate Southern Ocean.

“I’ve never done a round the world so quickly, that’s for sure already. Bernard has yes, because he did it with Orange II [the trimaran which set a Jules Verne record in 2005], which is something else entirely,”commented Le Cam.

“We are already at the Equator and then it is always the same: when you have done a world tour and you arrive at Brazil, at the Equator, you have the impression that Europe is next door. When you travel from South Africa to Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, it is still large, long distances and then finally, when you’re at the Equator and you see Europe there, just above, and you do routings, you realize that a fortnight later, you’re there.”

Good luck to all BWR skippers in Atlantic and to SOH in the South Pacific!