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Sunday 14 th January the Ocean globe fleet leave Auckland on the 3rd Leg of this gruelling Round the World Race.
For most of the fleet, the month long stop over has given them much needed time to relax , as well as prepare their boats for, what could be, the toughest leg .
The leg of over 6000 miles, to Punta Del Este will, again take the boats into the Grey World , that is Southern Ocean.
They will sail down to the southern latitudes of the Roaring Forties, there they must stay north of 3 waypoints, the first 2 of which are at 50 degrees South and the third, dropping down to 53 degrees South to put the boats in a position to sail Round Cape Horn, the infamous Cape at the south of Tierra Del Fuero ,which is a turning point for the boats from the Southern Pacific up into the Atlantic.
Cape Horn is a potentially dangerous area, the Drake passage between the Cape and The Antarctic continent is only 800 miles , causing a funnelling effect for the Low Pressure Systems whirling round the Southern Ocean, previously unimpeded by land.
The water also shallows from over 4000 meters to 300 meters in only a few kilometres , making the wave patterns potentially short and steep , with an increased risk of rogue waves, way bigger than the normal wave pattern.
On saying all that, when Maiden did the Whitbread, we left Auckland on a lovely sunny day and sailed for over a week before we got over 12 knots of breeze. We rounded Cape Horn in 10 to 12 knots with calm seas. Things got messy once we were round though, going upwind into a horrible sea state we had so much water over the deck that a breather pipe from a tank set up a syphon and filled the boat with a lot of water. It was worrying and difficult to find out where the water was coming from , causing us considerable anxiety and time. Cape Horn certainly deserves its fearsome reputation.