Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cape Horn Here I Come

Cape Horn here I come! I’m guessing I am 5-6 days from rounding the nautical summit of Cape Horn. It will be my third time around the horn solo, and it is never the same – a place impossible to predict. There is nothing to stop the winds and waves racing around the bottom of the globe unimpeded by land, until you reach Cape Horn. This is where the vast South Ocean and all of its fury is squeezed into a small corridor between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica. To add to the drama, the sea floor quickly jumps up to be much more shallow. The place is extreme and can be extremely dangerous. It has been called a sailor’s graveyard, because so many boats have gone down. Considering this dramatic but true description, I am of course looking at the weather data very closely in anticipation of the upcoming milestone.

From what I can see right now, it looks like it will be fairly rough and a bit of a challenge. There are three low pressure systems to deal with between now and The Horn. I’m looking closely at one of them, because it is one I should encounter immediately before, during or after the rounding. Ideally I will get there right after that system rolls through. If I had to guess now what conditions will be like on my special day, it looks to be 40 knots of wind that feels more like 50 and 30 foot seas. I’ll try and update that as we get closer to the moment.

What some may not realize is that rounding Cape Horn can be quite spectacular and awesome. For one, the accomplishment is like summiting Mt. Everest for sailors. If you are lucky enough to actually see it (usually masked in fog or too stormy to get the visual) it really does look like a rock sticking out of the bottom of the Earth. I am hoping for that beautiful clear shot, and no surprises. We’ll see.

On the Cape Horn subject, my team has launched an initiative tied to the occasion. It is a fundraising campaign and intended to offer some nice perks to those that get involved. The sponsorship scene has been pretty brutal so we are required to get creative! So while rounding this magnificent corner of the continent, I will have a Sharpie in hand and take some time to write personal notes to some special folks on photos of Le Pingouin. You can learn more about the Cape Horn Crew and how to get involved at

A special thanks goes out to some of the great folks already onboard the Cape Horn Crew, including Don Gearing/AlpineAire Food, Dennis Ledbetter, Charles Duell, Jeffere Van Liew, Ken & Anne King, Dr. Sheri Hunt, Mary Denis Cauthen, and Scott & Tracy Strother. I very much appreciate your support and look forward to sharing some great moments together in Charleston.

Thanks to all for checking in.