Have you rounded Cape Horn under sail? An honor list awaits you…

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The international association of so-called “cap horners,” those sailors who have rounded the legendary Cape Horn, has moved to Les Sables D’Olonne and will elect 6 new names to be added to this list of honor on September 21.

If there is a mythical place in ocean navigation, it is certainly Cape Horn, an extreme, isolated place that passes between the Roaring Forties and the Screaming Fifties at a latitude of 55°58′48″S – 67°17′21″W in one of the most difficult stretches of sea in the world. That is why in the imagination of sailors, racers and globetrotters, Cape Horn is a kind of “Mount Everest” of sailing, as in, the toughest and most dangerous undertaking.

It is no coincidence that ever since Cape Horn began to be sailed, first by vessels, then by Clippers and on to modern ocean skippers, it has become a veritable graveyard of ships and sailors, those to whom it has spoken ill. For all others who made it to bachelorhood instead, there is a badge, as curious as it is important, namely a gold earring to be worn proudly on the left earlobe.

Cape Horn

Les Sables D’Olonne celebrates the new “cap horners”

Cape Horn is even dedicated to the International Association of Cape Hornes (IACH), an association that gathers in a special registry all those who have rounded the mythical rock in navigation following an uninterrupted passage of at least 3,000 miles. This year the association changed its headquarters to move to Les Sables d’Olonne (France), the solo ocean racing capital of the world. And it is in the French city that six new navigators will be added to the honor list on September 21, in conjunction with the start of the Mini-Transat Race from Les Sables d’Olonne.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, chairman of the Cape Horn Hall of Fame’s independent selection committee, said, “This year we are looking for past and present Cape Horners who have made significant contributions to the sport of sailing, either solo or leading a crew around the world’s most famous Cape.” The committee, which includes veteran Jean-Luc van den Heede, Stan Honey, Dee Caffari, Dilip Donde and Ash Manton, will review each nomination and select the top 20 names to submit to a vote by IACH members to determine the final 6 to be inducted into the 2023 Cape Horn Hall of Fame.

Cape Horn

A congratulatory ceremony for the Mini Transat class.

On the official website of the International Association of Cape Hornes, one can view the registry in which those solo sailors who have completed a round-the-world voyage in Australian latitudes are officially listed, divided between those who have ventured on a nonstop route and those who have instead sailed in stages. The list currently gathers a total of 300 sailors who can be searched by entering their name, the event they took part in, or the name of the boat. Examples include Vito Dumas, Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Bernard Moitessier (Sir Chay Blyth, Éric Tabarly, and Sir Peter Blake. But there are also Italians, such as Ambrogio Fogar, Giovanni Soldini, Simone Bianchetti, Pasquale De Gregorio and Alessandro di Benedetto.

The ceremony to induct new names into the Cape Horn Hall of Fame 2023 will be held in Les Sables d’Olonne on Thursday, September 21, before the start of the Mini-Transat Race on September 24. “The timing is appropriate because the Mini-Transat class has long been a breeding ground for ocean racers, including Jean-Luc van den Heede, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Loic and Bruno Peyron, Whitbread winner Lionel Péan, and Simon Curwen, the first to finish the recent Golden Globe Race,” said Sir Robin.

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