It is widely considered to be the southern tip of South America. Cape Horn is the most southerly of the great capes, and marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage; for many years it was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. However, the waters around the cape are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors' graveyard.
The need for ships to round the horn was greatly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. However, sailing around the Horn is widely regarded as one of the major challenges in yachting, and a few recreational sailors continue to sail this route, sometimes as part of a circumnavigation of the globe, almost all of these choosing routes through the canals to the north of the actual Cape, though many take a detour through the islands and anchor to wait for fair weather to actually visit Horn Island or even sail around it to replicate a rounding of this historic point. Several prominent ocean yacht races, notably the Vendée Globe, sail around the world via the Horn, and speed records for round-the-world sailing follow the same route.