Saito-san is delighted to report he passed Cape Horn as of 0030 JST today. Including his earlier attempt in April, in which he actually traversed the Horn on Day 187 but was later disabled, this is his 6th solo passage of Cape Horn.
"The Horn" is considered by single-handers to be the most challenging point of a circumnavigation. Frequent storms and highly changeable sea conditions make this one of the most dangerous spots on Earth for vessels of any size.
He received congratulations from shore crew in Tokyo and Punta Arenas, but said he will wait a few days for improved conditions as he heads up the Chilean coast before breaking out the celebratory champagne.
The conditions for the next 12 hours are strong but do not seem overly serious as a front approaches from the west, bringing strong winds in the mid to upper 30s. Seas are predicted to stay under 5 meters.
He said he took pictures of the lower islands and a promitory that mark the cape mid-point.
His main and growing concern at the moment is dirty fuel. He cleaned the fuel cleaner element a few hours ago, requiring him to stop the engine and drift for about 30 minutes. "It was really dirty, even though I installed a new fuel filter before departure," he said. He believes the contamination is from the debris in the main tank that has been shaken up by boat motion in the increasingly heavier seas.
Iridium reception was good.
Saito-san will call in his next position at 1400 JST today.
You may want to see the commentary provided during his first Horn attempt in April.
Additional Report (0043 JST) [Mike Seymour, Safety Officer]
At approximately 0043 JST Oct 28, 2009, while speaking to me on the phone and with over 20 knots of westerly wind blowing straight in his face, Saito-san rounded Cape Horn alone for the 6th time.
Though he has two bottles of champagne left, he said he wasn't going to pop a cork until sea conditions settled down a bit, forcing me to give him a one-sided "Kampai" and a big "Omedeto Gozaimasu."
He did sound pleased.
(1240 local) Hitoshi Hanaoka, Chief of Punta Arenas Chile shore crew
Saito san called me 27-10-09 at 1240 to inform me that he is seeing the Cape Horn front of him. Wind is 25 to 30 knots, engine 2500 rpm with 6.5 knots of vessel speed. It sounded to me that he was very happy! But he said that the champagne will not be opened to celebrate until he crosses the west side of Magellan Strait, which will take about 3 days and 3 nights of voyage.
1500 JST POSITION UPDATE [click to enlarge]
2000 JST POSITION UPDATE [click to enlarge]