31 March 2015: Four boats in the Volvo Ocean Race have rounded the fabled landmark of Cape Horn – but reaching the milestone was denied Dongfeng Race Team after the Chinese boat’s mast was broken in a dramatic day on Leg 5.
Team Alvimedica led the battered fleet past the legendary point at 14:07 GMT on Monday, just 15 minutes clear of overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. MAPFRE and Team Brunel were hot on their heels as the fleet prepared to head north at last and back in to the Atlantic for the first time since November.
The teams made good use of their onboard Inmarsat satellite communications to transmit film and pictures of the milestone, while Volvo Ocean Race producer and previous edition onboard reporter Rick Deppe (pictured) captured the drama from a lighthouse on the Cape and hooked up live with the boats as they passed using bonded BGAN HDR, which delivers Inmarsat’s highest-ever video streaming rates.
Despite sail damage, Team SCA is expected to round the Cape in the early hours (GMT) on Wednesday. But for Dongfeng Race Team there will be no celebrations after their boat’s mast broke, robbing it of much of its manoeuvrability.
Reached via Inmarsat, bitterly disappointed skipper Charles Caudrelier said: “I’m gutted. The mast broke without warning in about 30 knots of wind. We are unable to sail safely on starboard tack, but we are able to make reasonable speed on port tack. We will head towards Ushuaia, Argentina and assess our options for getting to Itajaí.”
For the rest of the fleet, plenty of challenges lie ahead as they navigate up the Brazilian coast towards Itajaí, the Leg 5 destination, which they will reach around 5-6 April following 6,770 nautical miles (nm) of the most testing sailing in the nine-month offshore race.
Throughout, they will be able to rely on race partner Inmarsat’s voice and data satcoms equipment to capture all the drama, stay informed, and keep safe.
For all the latest news and social media updates from the six competing boats visit our Volvo Ocean Race website.