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February 22, 2007
Last week, Nordhavn 57, Ice Dancer, became the second Nordhavn to successfully round Cape Horn, doing so just 3 ½ weeks after a 46-footer was crowned the first Nordhavn to complete the challenge. Ice Dancer’s rounding makes Nordhavn the first manufacturer ever to have two of its production power boats make it around “the Horn”.
Long considered one of the most rigorous challenges in yachting, few production power boats have made it to this remote cruising area, with fewer still able to take on the strong winds and currents, icebergs and large waves that typically plague the area surrounding the southernmost tip of South America. “Two different models rounding the Horn within four weeks of each other is really special" said P.A.E. vice president Jim Leishman, who also was on board the Nordhavn 46, Egret, when it doubled the Horn initially traveling east to west on January 21, and then back in the opposite direction the next day.
Regarded the “easier” way of taking on the Horn, Ice Dancer first traveled from west to east on February 14 and had to wait out weather in a protected anchorage before reversing their steps.
While tales of the Drake Passage and “the Roaring Forties” have enticed many hearty yachtsmen to attempt and conquer Cape Horn, it was not something either Scott and Mary Flanders of Egret or Dick and Gail Barnes on Ice Dancer had specifically set out to do.
“We didn’t make the trip just to round Cape Horn,” Dick Barnes said of Ice Dancer’s journey, which began in Mexico last November. “It lies in a precarious path of storms, but tactics and good luck can make it no big deal. Having a great boat makes a big difference, and we are lucky to have our Nordhavn.”
Scott Flanders has also said that rounding Cape Horn was an afterthought once he and his wife mapped out their itinerary that took them from the Mediterranean and down the east coast of South America. They fell in love with the area and have delayed their final destination of New Zealand by a year to spend the austral summer exploring the Chilean canals. “We simply can’t leave this last unspoiled cruising area in the world without spending time here,” he said. “We can’t just ‘pop’ back in like so many destinations around the world. Getting here is too difficult.”
Jim Leishman predicts this area of the world will become the new desired cruising ground for long range cruisers. “A fabulous cruising ground awaits those inclined and equipped with the right vessel.”
Still, Leishman believes other great challenges await Nordhavns: “This year it’s been Cape Horn for Nordhavns. I think next year we’ll see our boats in Antarctica.”