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Randall Reeves Is Round the Horn

After just over 50 days at sea following his late-September departure from San Francisco, Randall Reeves finally reached Cape Horn sometime yesterday after a few days of gale-force conditions.

Round Cape Horn once. Check. Now all Randall Reeves has to do is complete a three-month circumnavigation of the Southern Ocean and sail up the East Coast of the Americas, through the Northwest Passage, and then back to San Francisco.

Yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised to see Reeves’ tracker bobbing directly in front of sailing’s most famous waypoint. The news (and the photo you see above) came late last night on his blog, with the promise that the full recounting of the rounding is soon to come. (Today, Reeves is just past Isla de los Estados, or Staten Island.)

In the days immediately after Thanksgiving, Reeves has been working his way through multiple low-pressure systems — his first taste of the Southern Ocean conditions that will mark the next few months of his Figure 8 Voyage.

Photos rarely do justice to extreme sea states, but this high-latitude wave looks plenty meaty and menacing.
© 2018 Randall Reeves

“Each morning the forecast calls for diminishing winds and each morning the sea spurns such a futile thing as a forecast,” Reeves wrote on a previous blog titled Day Four of the Blow. “There is a sense of chaos here now. The sea has stood up. It is steep as a wall. The break rolls forward, mushrooming out in one giant overfall, spilling beyond and down the wave before rolling back and creating a vast whitewater rapids on the backside. And there is both a SW and NW component to the sea, this though the wind has been but a few degrees of west for the entirety of the blow.”

A few days after Thanksgiving, Randall Reeves posted a video in the midst of his first low-pressure system of the Figure 8 2.0.
© 2018 Randall Reeves

We say that Reeves “finally” reached the Horn because in December 2017, during the Figure 8 1.0, Reeves suffered the loss of his self steering and autopilot, and was forced to put into the Beagle Channel and make his way to Ushuaia, Argentina, for repairs. The pit stop meant that Reeves went inland of the Horn, missing it completely. “The Figure 8 has but one goal: to get around the route and return home safely in one year,” wrote Reeves last year (which we also quoted in February 2018’s Sightings). “But I had personal goals nested inside the bigger endeavor, like going non-stop from San Francisco to Greenland, like rounding the Horn twice in a year. Both now gone. Then there’s the disappointment of having prepared so intensely only to be stopped two days from the first big achievement, the Horn, by failures no-one would have suspected. When particularly morose, I think to myself that I planned like Amundsen but was dealt a Shackleton.”

You haven’t really lived until you’ve wasted a few hours exploring the world on Google Earth. Some of us were a little surprised at where Cape Horn is exactly.
© 2018 Google Earth
For those of us not planning a circumnavigation anytime soon, we’ve been enjoying the view of Cape Horn — or Isla Hornos — from the comfort of our desks.
After Jean-Luc Van Den Heede rounded the Horn last week, fellow Golden Globe Racer Mark Slats is not far behind. With Randall Reeves rounding yesterday and Jeanne Socrates about a  week away, things are downright crowded at the one of the most remote parts of the world.
© 2018 Google Earth

We’ll bring you the full story of Reeves’ rounding next week. And don’t forget that another Latitude favorite and circumnavigating hopeful is also closing in on the Horn. After leaving Victoria, BC, in early October, Jeanne Socrates wrote us on Tuesday, saying, “I’m on Day 53 now — and only 2,000 miles off Cape Horn.”

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