AN IRISHMAN is preparing to sail alone around Cape Horn, the most notorious territory in the world.
In the next 24 hours, Enda O’ Coineen will sail along the deadly route as he endeavours to complete his solo sailing lap of the planet.
O’ Coineen embarked on his ambitious adventure on 6 November 2016, from Les Sables d’Olonne in France as part of the Vendee Globe world race.
However, on New Year’s Day 2017 Enda’s race came to a dramatic end when his mast came crashing down some 180 miles south of New Zealand.
Determined to finish the lap of the planet, O’ Coineen got back into his boat with the mission to sail back to France to unofficially finish the race.
The historic rounding will be only one of a few recorded times that an Irish sailor has rounded the infamous Cape Horn alone.
Speaking about historic rounding O’Coineen said:
“Cape Horn is one of, if not, the most feared pieces of land to round on the planet. And it is certainly living up to it’s reputation as I approach with 60kph winds and roaring seas hurtling me towards the great cape. This will hopefully be the coldest and wildest weather I will encounter as I then turn north and start the final leg up the Atlantic Ocean and into Les Sables d’Olonne to finish what I started.”
“It’s hard to explain why I put myself in this position, alone, cold, and exhausted at the bottom of the earth but as any sailor or adventurer knows as soon as you reach your destination and accomplish your goal you quickly forget about the hardship. Right now I am living on the edge, moment by moment. Having the joint backing of two teams and flying both the Irish and French flags is an honour. The work of Le Souffle du Nord and the Atlantic Youth Trust keeps me motivated during the lows.”
Cape Horn is located in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of islands near the southern tip of South America where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. It’s often called the “end of the world” since the weather is often very stormy and the waves are so high that ships seemed to be approaching the edge of the earth.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, clipper ships sailed around Cape Horn on their voyages between Europe and Asia. The frequent high winds and storms in the region caused many sailing ships to crash on the rocky islands, and thousands died in their attempt to get past Cape Horn. Those sailors who returned home safely brought with them horror stories of their experiences.
Since 1914, most cargo and cruise ships use the Panama Canal to cross between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. However, several around-the-world yacht races use the route around Cape Horn.
O’ Coineen will be followed in a few weeks’ time by fellow Irish sailor Annalise Murphy as she races around the globe as a crew member of one of the Volvo Ocean Race teams.
The timing of the rounding coincides with summer in the Southern Hemisphere, however, the latitude and converging seas make Cape Horn a daunting prospect year-round.
You can track Enda’s voyage live here.