After an excessively long closure for bad weather, the Gitana 13 gym has again thrown open its doors since rounding Cape Horn. Onboard, one thing is clear: there's a before and an after. When we rounded Cape Horn, we hit the reset button. Forgotten are the 22+ days on the first part of the course...we're only interested in part 2, which we started yesterday. The final calculations can wait for the Golden Gate Bridge!
Since we rounded Cape Horn Island pretty close to midnight UT, we can count using full days—quite practical.
Yesterday, as we got back into the swing of things, we covered a net 330 miles. We traveled much farther on the water since we had to go more west than planned to get around a small secondary low-pressure system and to prepare for a major low-pressure system blocking our path which we will reach in the middle of the day today. While we have done some of our favorite sequences—small gennaker, big gennaker, small again, genoa staysail, jibing, etc.—today we will engage in a sail-change exercise that is more difficult because it's intellectually unsatisfying: solent, staysail, and ORC jib, along with various reefs! All this to get by a very active front that will again keep us hopping. Until then, we are taking full advantage of this stretch of water. Today, Friday, was a sort of reward despite the overcast sky, drizzle and chill. It had been so long since our speedometer registered 25-28 knots that we had nearly forgotten how great it is!
Just like in the books...
...And to top it off, I was there!
2 failed attempts, one of which was pretty close...
1 week of lying-to on rough seas, white with foam, with noble albatrosses caught up in the mix.1 exhausting week, full of low-lying clouds indicative of strong and turbulent winds, during which feelings run high for no good reason, and you need to find something to keep yourself busy, and not think too much about tomorrow. And then one day, someone asked: When? And our dear navigator replied solemnly: “Tomorrow.”
We prepared meticulously during the calm for the long-awaited departure, timid in the early morning in a partial calm. The strait came first, with its rough chop, a boat-rattler that we made our way through slowly.
Then we sailed toward the Rock in the face of swells from the Pacific, a long day. And finally, in the evening, appearing out of the mist, through eyes reddened by the sea spray, we saw a dark mass emerge: there it was, proud and impressive, watching over this passage for millennia.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1...am I dreaming? No, I'm awake...at Cape Horn.
It's happened: I'm a Cape Horner, which gives me something to talk about over drinks...and maybe I'll get a long-coveted earring.