British Skipper Alex Thomson has rounded Cape Horn, an infamous milestone in the Vendee Globe, the solo, non-stop, around the world race. Thomson reached Cape Horn today at 11:42 UTC, arriving at the southern tip of Chile in 48d 23hrs 40mins, 1d 23hrs 8mins behind leader Armel le Cleac’h. Thomson’s time to Cape Horn beats the previous record set by Francois Garbart in the 2012-2013 edition by 3d 6hrs 10mins. This is the first time in the race’s history that skippers have rounded this landmark by Christmas.
Thomson is still in second place, 454 nautical miles behind Frenchman Armel le Cleac’h. The rivals have been battling for first place since the start of the race on the 6th November.
Cape Horn is such a renowned milestone for offshore yachting as it’s the point where the skippers turn the bow north again and begin their journey back through the Atlantic and heading towards home. Thomson and Le Clea’ch are expected to arrive at the finish port of Les Sables d’Olonne, France in mid January.
The Vendee Globe takes place every four years and has historically been dominated by the French. This year’s edition sees 29 IMOCA 60s compete in the race, including Thomson, the British entry. Ireland is represented for the first time by Galway adventurer Enda O'Coineen.
The race is renowned for being one of the most gruelling sporting challenges left in the world. Just 71 of the 138 starters since the race’s inception, back in 1989, have successfully completed the race, and three have lost their lives. In this edition, currently 7 skippers have had to retire from the race.
Thomson is determined to be the first British skipper to win the race, which could take in the region of 80 days to complete.