In the small hours of the morning, at 04:05 UTC “Telefónica” made her way across Cape Horn to put the Pacific Ocean astern and enter Atlantic waters. 22 minutes later, at 04:27 UTC, the Spanish boat informed the organisers that racing had been suspended at 55º 57.3’ S 67º 08.20’ W as they started up the engine and motored their way to the meeting point agreed on with the 50-foot yacht transporting transporting members of the shore crew and the team's Technical Director Horacio Carabelli to meet the blue boat. After rounding one of the 'great capes' Iker Martínez said: “We've brought the sails down, so we're going to find some shelter and get the repairs moving. I hope that within twelve hours, the minimum time before we can resume racing, we can be back on the go”.
At 06:15 UTC the boat skippered by Iker Martínez was already alongside the yacht transporting the Spanish shore contingent. In the end the actual meeting point was at Caleta Martial, a cove on the island of Herschel (Chile) which also forms part of the group of islands known as the Wollaston Islands, positioned just North of Cape Horn and within the cape's national park.
Getting to the meeting point was no simple task for the shore crew and that's why Horacio Carabelli turned to his own local contacts, to be sure the crew would have expert knowledge of the treacherous waters around Cape Horn. The skipper of the boat transporting the shore crew to meet “Telefónica” confirmed he's sailed the waters around the cape some 50 times,having lived on the area for the last 16 years.
When visual contact was made with the shore crew, aboard “Telefónica” the crew expressed tremendous gratitude for the total flexibility and perfect logistics behind yet another Team Telefónica shore crew operation, and between the smiles Iker explained: “We've managed to mess things up for Horacio. He was supposed to be on holiday, at home in Florianópolis and he's had to fly to Buenos Aires, pick up the guys, catch another plane, go to Ushuaia, board a yacht to Port Williams, do all of the paperwork and sail a hundred miles or so to get into a little boat to wait for us”. Horacio Carabelli himself confirmed that “We've got everything ready”.
With no time to lose and after some brief greetings the shore crew stepped aboard the Spanish yacht to evaluate the damage first-hand and to join the crew in getting the repairs underway, with one clear endgame in sight: to get “Telefónica” ready in maximum of 12 hours. The countdown has already begun.
37 times across Cape Horn on “Telefónica”
Darkness accompanied the crew of the Spanish yacht as they made their way across Cape Horn. On this 31st of March 2012, the crew on board “Telefónica” have now notched up no less than 37 passages across the legendary cape between them; Andrew Cape: 8, Neal McDonald: 6, Xabi Fernández: 5, Iker Martínez: 4, Pepe Ribes: 4, Joca Signorini: 3, Jordi Calafat: 2, Pablo Arrarte: 2, Zane Gills: 1, Ñeti Cuervas-Mons: 1, Diego Fructuoso: 1.
Diego Fructuoso, the team's MCM and a first-timer at this wrote: “We've just rounded Cape Horn. We could only see the outline, but we were all very excited, especially those of us who'd never been here before: Zane, Ñeti and myself”.
With the Cape Horn repair operation in full swing, the crew of the Spanish boat haven't had much time to celebrate. “We haven't had time for anything because almost as soon as we passed it we suspended racing and got the engine going. We did have some cigars, some rum and some earrings prepared, but they'll have to wait...” said the Spanish MCM.
However, the youngest member of the crew, bowman Zane Gills found a moment to honour a sailing tradition from his native Australia for those who round Cape Horn: heading out on deck in the nude.
Another of the first-timers, Spain's Antonio 'Ñeti' Cuervas-Mons was happy: “Today was my first time around Cape Horn! It was a very moving moment for me and made me cast my memory back and remember lots of people; my family and friends who've always supported me and encouraged me to do this, as it's been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I was disappointed after the last Volvo, but in the end I got here on this one. Now we've got to focus on the repairs and getting them done as quickly as possible. We've got to look forward, because whilst we might have made a great step, there's still a lot of racing to go and a lot of points to play for!”
PROVISIONAL RANKINGS LEG 5*
*Final position report before “Telefónica” suspended racing
AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND) – ITAJAÍ (BRAZIL): 6,705 miles
Day 14 – 03:00 UTC – 31st March 2012
1. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas), 1,731.6 miles from finish
2. Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), +36.3 miles from leader
3. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), +191.1 miles
4. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), +1,397.6 miles
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), +1,740.4 miles
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), DNF
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