Image: From left to right: Yannick Moreau, Ashley Manton and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede © ville des Sables d'Olonne / Christophe Huchet
True to its tradition of hosting world-famous sailors, the town of Les Sables d'Olonne, the global capital of single-handed ocean racing, is now home to the headquarters of the International Association of Cape Horners.
Just a few days before the start of the legendary Golden Globe Race, the town inaugurated the "Cape Horn Hall of Fame" on Wednesday 31 August, which honours the most prestigious sailors who have rounded the mythical Cape Horn. This will further strengthen the links between Les Sables d'Olonne and the adventurers of the open sea.
Rocky peaks that jut into the sea, inhospitable terrain... and yet, a sense of deliverance. Rounding Cape Horn, the southernmost land of South America and the point of passage between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic, is an adventure in itself - an achievement for so many sailors - despite particularly trying conditions. To pay tribute to these men and women, who have shown such bravery and courage, the International Cape Horners Association, founded in 1937, has just unveiled the Roll of Honour, which now hangs in Les Sables d'Olonne, in the Vendée Globe town.
"It is natural for our maritime city, which has seen so many sailors cross the oceans and round Cape Horn, to welcome the International Association of Cape Horners.
What better place, what better time, what better ambassadors to inaugurate this Hall of Fame of Cape Horners.
A few hours before the start of the Golden Globe Race, in the presence of the legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, a page of maritime history is being written in Les Sables d'Olonne", declared Yannick Moreau, Mayor of Les Sables d'Olonne.
Ashley Manton, President of the International Association of Cape Horners (IACH), was delighted that "this new annual event is generously organised by Les Sables d'Olonne". For Ashley, the Cape Horn Hall of Fame is designed to "encourage future generations to follow in the footsteps of their elders and set new records in the most prestigious round the world races, such as the Vendée Globe and the Golden Globe Race".
A moving ceremony took place in the presence of three Cape Horners who have made history: Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail around the world single-handed, non-stop and in a race; Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, who rounded Cape Horn 12 times, sailed around the world six times single-handed, finished of two Vendée Globe races and won the 2018 GGR race; and finally, Chay Blyth, competitor in the Golden Globe Challenge in 1968.
Each sailor was selected from a list of candidates by an independent committee and the entire IACH membership then voted on the first honorary ranking.
Each year, the City and the IACH will hold a ceremony to induct new names and keep the community of great sailors with an enduring connection to Cape Horn alive.
For this launch, the names of 28 Cape Horners have been engraved in the wood of the Roll of Honour which will now take pride of place in an area dedicated to the International Association of Cape Horners in the heart of Port Olona:
Willem Schouten (1567-1625), Netherlands
Jacob Le Maire (1585-1616), Belgium
Vice Admiral Robert Fitzroy (1805-1865), England
Capt. Vern Verner Björkfelt (1900-1982), Finland
Capt. Thomas Carter (T.C) Feraron (1813 - 1869), USA
Capt. Adolph Hauth, Allemagne
Capt. Louis Allaire (1880-1949), France
Alan Villiers (1903-1982), Australia
Vito Dumas (1900-1965), Argentina
Marcel Bardeaux (1950-1958), France
Sir Francis Chichester (1901-1972), England
Sir Alec Rose (1908-1991), England
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (1939-), England
Bernard Moitessier (1925-1994), France
Sir Chay Blyth (1940-), Scotland
Ramon Carlin (1923-2016), Mexico
Éric Tabarly (1931-1998), France
Cornelis van Rietschoten (1926-2013), Netherlands
Dame Naomi James (1949-), New Zealand
Kay Cottee (1954-), Australia
Jon Sanders (1939-), Australia
Philippe Jeantot (1952-), France
Titouan Lamazou (1955-), France
Sir Peter Blake (1948-2001), New Zealand
Dilip Donde (1967-), India
Stan Honey (1955-), America
Dee Caffari (1973-), England
Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (1945-), France