Today I am sailing past Cape Horn. Only saying it brings up a whole lot of emotions. I feel like I am offering it to this teenager I was and who dreamt about it in his bed after watching “Mutiny on the Bounty”. I leave the Pacific and its albatrosses and I don’t know when I will be back. It is such a joy and at the same time, I feel profound nostalgia. I enjoyed every minute spent in the Pacific, but I am also looking forward to finding maneuverable conditions again and some warmth. Life on board is anything but simple. It is cold, everything is soaked and the conditions can be horrible at times. Last night again, I had squalls of over 50 knots and huge waves. A wave even made it inside the cockpit and activated my lifejacket, as if I had fallen in the water!
Cape Horn is something you have to work for. Although we are in 2017 and we are free to go wherever we please by just hopping on a plane, this is still the “P” Place. Even these last miles on the Pacific are a challenge and I won’t forget this day. I practically haven’t seen shore since November 6th, so I revel at the sight of this dark and massive boulder and passing it is an absolute accomplishment.
It is said that the Vendée Globe is an Everest; in this case, Cape Horn is its peak and I am thankful to the Pacific for letting me pass. It’s crazy to be here after 70 days spent sailing solo, nothing compares! Everything I ever did was towards reaching this point and the journey left towards the Sables d’Olonne is long, but for me resembles a walk towards base camp. The most difficult part is over.
I often dreamt about this instant, but I also often had doubts. The rudder damage was undoubtedly the most critical moment, but there have been down times, these moments where you feel that you’re never going to make it and they happen more often than people say. Seldom do we post videos when we are at rock bottom. In spite of all this, I took it one mile after the other and to this day I covered 17,000. All of this proves that our resources are endless.
I am not a super hero. I am a sailor who did his best. I never tried to come off as stronger than I really am and this honesty allows me to be here today, to fulfill my dream and to carry this message about differences always higher. Today, I learned that it was increasingly being shared on social media. A ranking was made, and the project is amongst the most quoted, behind Cléac’h and Alex Thomson.
I usually don’t care too much for rankings, but I am delighted about this one because it isn’t mine, it is the one of all those who STANDASONE
Eric Bellion, on 13th January 2017.