Five doublehanded Class40 teams are on the fifth leg of the Globe40 race which extends from Tahiti toward the Argentinean stopover of Ushuaia via the legendary yet feared Cape Horn. Located on southern Chile’s Hornos Island, at the southern tip of South America, Cape Horn’s reputation is in the news again.
Amid the trepidation that this mark of the course already offers the ten competitors, they now must absorb the news of how a rogue wave killed one person and injured four others on the 665-foot Viking Polaris along this same route.
The massive wave smashed into the Antarctic cruise ship during a storm, while sailing off the southernmost tip of South America, with a 62-year-old woman from the US hit by broken glass when a wave broke cabin windows while four other tourists sustained “non-life-threatening injuries” and were treated onboard.
The incident occurred November 29th while the expedition ship was sailing towards Ushuaia, which is the main starting point for expeditions to Antarctica. The ship suffered minor damage and was anchored off Ushuaia a day later with several windows smashed on the side.
A rogue wave is greater than twice the size of surrounding waves, according to the National Ocean Service, and come from directions other than prevailing winds and waves. Reports of rogue waves, which are considered rare, have described them as “walls of water.”
Launched in 2022 and is the newest ship in the company’s fleet, Viking Polaris was built specifically to explore the world’s most remote destinations and endure harsh conditions. Our thoughts go out to the Class40 sailors as they approach these same water on December 18-19.