Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire celebrate rounding Cape Horn – Photo Phesheya-Racing
Having rounded Cape Horn early evening GMT on Monday, Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire have taken Phesheya-Racing through Le Maire Strait between Tierra del Fuego and Isla de los Estados joining Cessna Citation and Financial Crisis in the South Atlantic after 30 days in the Pacific Ocean’s high latitudes.
However, the final 1,300 miles from Cape Horn to the Global Ocean Race (GOR) Leg 3 finish line in Punta del Este, Uruguay, are proving to be as challenging as the 5,000 miles in the Pacific for the trio of Class40s that continued racing from Wellington, New Zealand. At the head of the fleet, Conrad Colman and Adrian Kuttel have experienced stop-start sailing with Cessna Citation as they close in on the coast of Argentina for the final 180 miles to the finish line on the northern shore of Rio de la Plata, while further south in second place, Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon on Financial Crisis have been hammered by headwinds north-west of the Falkland Islands but, finally the breeze has gone right.
On the South African Class40, Phesheya-Racing, rounding Cape Horn on Monday evening was a momentous occasion for Phillippa Hutton-Squire. While Nick Leggatt has now logged six passages around the cape, it was a debut rounding for Hutton-Squire: “We never thought we would make it when we were becalmed the last few days, but we pushed hard in the last 24 hours between the hail storms, snow and icy winds,” says the first South African female sailor to skipper a racing yacht around Cape Horn.
Leggatt and Hutton-Squire sighted Horn Island’s western peak from 27 miles to the south: “From here the excitement and happiness set in on board!” reports Hutton-Squire. As the sun began to set at 56S, Phesheya-Racing arrived three miles off the cape. “It’s a very jagged coastline with sheer cliffs and no trees,” she notes. “The birds had increased in numbers and the dolphins had come out to ride our bow.” However, the magic moment was interrupted as the satellite phone began to ring, the VHF suddenly crackled into life and the AIS warning light started to flash busily after a month with barely any shipping activity.