Around 1,000 miles from Cape Horn, the GLOBE40 crews are having to contend with a succession of depressions, the latest one fuelling winds of up to 50 knots. Though the skippers aren’t currently reporting any serious damage,  the atmosphere is one of tension and concentration during this tricky phase, which is set to culminate with a passage around the legendary cape at the end of the week. Solidarity is everything for the sailors, who are competing both against one another and together in this extraordinary adventure. In first place today, the crew aboard MILAI Around The World has now crossed the latitude of 50° South and with them the event joins the realms of the ‘Furious Fifties’.

Playing the depressions

After negotiating the Chilean Gate, a deeper than forecast secondary depression rolled over the top of the fleet yesterday serving up an average of around 35 knots of breeze, gusting up to 50 knots. It was a tense moment for the GLOBE40 teams, who are now some 1,000 miles or so from Cape Horn, which they’re set to reach on Friday 16 December. During these critical moments, it’s the spirit of solidarity which takes precedence over any sporting objectives for a few hours, as evidenced by the message sent to the other teams by Frans Budel, skipper of SEC HAYAI. “Hi everyone, heavy weather coming up. We want to say to all of you, be careful, be safe and, meantime, try to sail fast. Hang on! Greetings Frans and Ysbra”. Ultimately, it was the crew on MILAI Around The World, which was the event’s first competitor to enter the Furious Fifties today.

The Chilean Gate: a key safety device

Some 1,500 nautical miles from the coast of Chile, this mark forms part of the event’s safety device, as well as adhering to the spirit of the category 1 classification (rules for equipping sailboats according to their course – category 1 comes just after category 0, the latter equating to sailing with no limits). The gate is positioned in such a way as to prohibit the competitors bound for Cape Horn from dropping down to the more hostile southern latitudes. All the competitors have now negotiated this mark with some 37 hours separating the first and the last boats. Following a first week where the leader board was constantly changing, the arrival of the strong winds and a timely sail repair has enabled MILAI to gain an edge over the fleet, but there’s still everything to play for.

Ushuaia awaits the new Cape Horners 

The large ‘End of the World’ resort town and gateway to Antarctica is the next stopover for the GLOBE40 competitors and, as atypical a destination as it is in the racing world, oh how wonderful it is too, amidst the snow-capped mountains of Patagonia and the abundance of marine fauna in the Beagle Channel. The skippers will head to the Argentinean town once they’ve crossed the official finish line for this leg, which is located at the entrance to the Beagle Channel, around 70 miles from Ushuaia. From there, the competitors will make for the port within the context of the TIERRA DEL FUEGO TROPHY, named after the regional authority which is supporting the project alongside local club AFASyN.

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