Shortly before or shortly after the rounding of Cape Horn, the teams sent their comments on this most classic of all passages. We publish three of them here on behalf of everyone else because they get to the heart of the events, reflect one of the most brutal sections in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race and explain the meaning of the Cape Horn rounding.
The video clip by Charles Caudrelier's Dongfeng Race Team shows the whole brutality of the Southern Ocean section of this stage from Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil, and also the subdued pride of the sailors to have reached the legendary landmark
A self-portrait by Dongfeng's on-board reporter Martin Keruzoré
By Martin Keruzoré, on-board reporter for the Dongfeng Race Team
Cape Horn - the navigator's goldsmith
This morning the horizon made the wise decision to form. For this occasion everyone is on deck. On the port side he wears a dark and high-contrast chain that is adorned with a row of small, neatly ordered mountains and set in scene by subdued light that welcomes us.
In front of our bow appears a large, upright and imposing rock, higher than the others, the cape. Under big gray clouds the albatrosses are there - as always on big occasions - flying overhead with powerful flaps of their wings, but this time it's a farewell.
The Southern Ocean says goodbye, a volley of Pacific waves pushes us towards the exit, towards redemption after this hell of crossing.
It comes closer, it takes on contours, it becomes clearer, the nuances, the relief, Cape Horn belongs to us, this cape that is entwined with so many stories and marked by victims. It watches us pass below its nose without a sign or a sound.
We slip past him in silence, the sea becomes calmer, our wake only slowly dissolves, as if it wanted to leave a thought for our friend who is staying here.
That's it. We turn the wheel and set course for home after four months of absence in front of you - we are back in the Atlantic.
Dongfeng's thoughtful skipper Charles Caudrelier
By Charles Caudrelier, skipper in the Dongfeng Race Team
Cape Horn is done
Yes we did it! We passed it after one of the toughest sections in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race. Unfortunately, it was also one of the most dramatic. John Fisher left us and the Cape Horn Passage was not what we expected; we cannot forget John and his family.
My thoughts also go to David (Witt, ed.), His friend and skipper, and the whole team. Scallywag was that race's smile and I liked her spirit. I would like to give David my support; As a skipper, that's the nightmare we fear most in our job: losing a crew member. But unfortunately that's part of our sport. This risk exists, as it does with mountaineers and free climbers at high altitudes.
The risk is very small compared to that in the mountains, but it does exist. We always try to sail safely, but we are racing a high-speed boat in the most dangerous ocean. It's part of deep sea sailing and its legend. We all come to face this challenge and to push the boundaries.
Vestas navigator Simon "Si Fi" Fisher
By Simon "Si Fi" Fisher, Navigator for Vestas 11th Hour Racing
There are only a few hours left before we reach Cape Horn. As a farewell present, the Pacific served us a shovel of more than 40 knots of wind with gusts of over 50 knots. As we reach the continental plate, the waves pile up even higher than normal. Every 30 seconds the boat races down the waves at speeds of over 30 knots, then slows down so dramatically in the trough of the waves that you have to brace yourself against the force.
Sitting here in the navigation corner feels like being locked in a speeding dark and damp subway car. If you didn't know the caliber of the sailors on deck, you'd think we're out of control. With every wave we sail down, the saildrive with its folding propeller makes screaming noises like a Star Wars spaceship in battle, which reinforces the impression of the prevailing forces and speed.
Cape Horn is of course the most iconic of all the capes. Not as the cape itself, but because of what it represents: the fact that we have finally conquered the Southern Ocean. We endured many days of heavy weather, storms, squalls, snow, hail and frosty temperatures. Massive waves and howling winds. All of this in such a tightly packed fleet of powerful boats that we had no choice but to consistently sail 100 percent to the limit. Passing Cape Horn this time will be more fulfilling than ever.
We look forward to seeing the Cape, will pause for a moment and reflect on what we endured. We will toast to what we have achieved and remember those we have so sadly lost.
Then when the moment is over we will go back to work and race hard until Brazil.
Cheers, Si Fi.
The repair work off Cape Horn cost the team leading in the overall standings of the Volvo Ocean Race almost 300 nautical miles behind
Sophie Ciszek works for the Mapfre team below deck
Mapfre has to stop to repair work on the mast off Cape Horn and takes up the race again after outside help and a 13-hour special shift