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January 12, 2007

A Nordhavn 46 faces what is considered the ultimate test of yachting as it attempts to round Cape Horn and become one of the few production powerboats to accomplish the feat. Next week, Scott and Mary Flanders plan to take their boat, Egret, around the Horn, located at the southernmost tip of South America and notorious for the strong winds, large waves and icebergs that surround it. In doing so, they will also become the first Nordhavn to conquer the infamous great cape.

The trip around Cape Horn is just part of the next leg of Egret’s momentous journey from Gibraltar to New Zealand. Having departed the Med in September 2006, the crew has encountered some rough seas and gale-force winds – typical weather found off the coast of South America. But the three-person team has maintained a “work as usual” attitude, thanks in part to the comfort they have thus far enjoyed. “The trip down the South American coast has to have been the most comfortable that a boat – power or sail – traveling that stretch of coast has ever experienced,” said Scott Flanders.

In the wake of passing through one of the world’s most treacherous cruising grounds, Flanders remains unflappable. Rounding Cape Horn has been a personal goal for the couple and they have spent a long time preparing for it. And while they recognize the magnitude of what they are about to embark on, they are viewing it as just one more adventure to record in their travelogue. “It will probably not be easy,” Scott said, mentioning that a conservative approach will be taken. “We will not make an attempt in weather anywhere close to some of the nasty weather we experienced on the trip south from Brazil.”

Still, he adds, “None of [the crew] are anxious.”

Nerves of steel? Perhaps, but more so a tribute to the confidence they have in the boat that got them there. And, just maybe, due to the fourth crew member who will be joining them. Jim Leishman, vice president of Pacific Asian Enterprises, manufacturer of Nordhavns, will join Egret’s crew as she makes her way around the Horn.

“I'm extremely excited about this” says Leishman. “I've read stories of the great Southern Ocean, of Patagonia, Terra Del Fuego, and the Drake Passage. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to experience the Roaring Forties, to sail around the Horn aboard a boat I helped design and build.”

“It’s really the Everest of yachting,” he said.

Many Nordhavns have crossed oceans and circumnavigated the globe, but all have done so bypassing the Horn. For Flanders, rounding the Horn started as a far-reaching goal that became a reality once he and Mary decided they really wanted to cruise what they call “the best isolated cruising remaining in the world.”

They plan to depart their anchorage in Puerto Williams, Chile, on January 20, weather permitting. Readers can follow the Flanders on their Cape Horn adventure on where they have documented their entire trip. They hope to arrive in New Zealand in December.

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