Day 06, Thursday October 1, 1998

Hall and Soldini were still holding course to the north of the majority of the fleet. In his email, Hall explained his early strategy: "Giovanni and I both opted to hang north looking for breeze from one of cold fronts that tend to dissipate in these latitudes. That is what happened but we still got a better wind gradient than those to the south and despite having sailed more miles I still feel this route will pay off in days to come."

"The big enemy for all of us is a large high developing right across the course. This is maybe why Isabelle Autissier has steamed south to try to beat it. I don't think she can but with the boats so even we are all going to have to take calculated fliers to try and get a break. The first two days proved to me that each boat has an advantage in a certain wind range so it should be a great race."

MSSoldiniFace.jpg (18695 bytes) Giovanni Soldini Foto Marek Slodownik

"Everything is well on board," e-mailed Soldini, "I chose to go north because I thought it was better to catch the wind. It's very hot here. I have a little bird on board."

BBPRBSail.jpg (20562 bytes) PRB Foto Billy Black

Meantime, Isabelle slipped to fourth place. She had been able to free a float from a fish trap that got caught in her port rudder. There was still a small piece left between the skeg and the rudder itself.

In Class II, there was no change in the front positioning. Mouligne e-mailed: "We continue to race in very easy conditions. The wind is from the South at 8 to 12 knots, the sea is flat and I am moving without much effort at 9 to 10 knots. The problem is that I am not the only one doing that, and we are all moving at virtually the same speed. In the light conditions there is little speed difference between a Finot 50 and a Finot 60 and I am glad to see that I am only 40 miles behind Gartmore. It will take some stronger winds for the big boats to start pulling away but it will happen sooner or later. In my class we have a virtual deadlock. I took advantage of an early mistake by Magellan and Balance Bar to gain a small lead, but in these conditions I cannot capitalize on it. They are going fast, and it is going to be a very long and competitive race."

BBStricker.jpg (21768 bytes) George Stricker Foto Billy Black

George Stricker got into fourth place by overpassing Saito, but soon lost the position to Robin Davie, who had jumped over Minoru Saito overnight to claim fifth place and then picked up Stricker's fourth position.

BBDavie2Sharp.jpg (21544 bytes) Robin Davie Foto Billy Black

Davie checked in with race headquarters: "The fleet has sailed pretty much eastward, and are now coming about 100 miles to the southwest of Bermuda. Generally I have been real lucky to have had nice winds. This is the third day I've had some good winds from astern and been able to fly the big asymmetric spinnaker."

BBYazykovTvar.jpg (17550 bytes)  Viktor Yazykov Foto Billy Black

Finally, Viktor Yazykov, the last skipper in port, has set sails. Aided by a gentle 8 to 10 knot northwesterly, the last starter was at last racing. Russian Viktor Yazykov cast off the lines on his new 40-footer Wind of Change more than five days behind the rest of the fleet.

Yazykov only arrived in Charleston two days before the start of the Around Alone. It had been a long passage from Russia, where he built his new 40-footer Wind of Change Russia. Originally the project was a partnership with American Bob Adams. Unfortunately, at the last minute, Adams pulled out of the partnership due to lack of sponsorship.

Before the race started Yazykov tried to get all the problems sorted out, but time was against him. When race day came, he was not ready. Since the start, the boat has been in the water for repairs at Delta Marine, upriver from the Maritime Center, where most of the boats were docked prior to the start. Yazykov had done most of the repairs himself but the team of Delta Marine had helped him haul the boat out of the water and check the hull and keel.

By 4:30 p.m. the Russian was at the Charleston Maritime Center, where the rest of the Around Alone fleet was docked prior to the start, meeting with Race Director Mark Schrader and scrutineer Ian Fraser.

Fraser took his last look at the boat to make sure Yazykov had made all of yesterday's fixes, (put the light on his life jacket and fixed the ship's bell), and then Fraser sealed his propeller. Normally, Fraser seals the propeller shaft but on Yazykov's boat the shaft is a sail drive too.

There were also some final tests done on Yazykov's communications equipment. Yazykov also had to clear some 11th hour paper work. Schrader had to produce a sailing resume for the race insurance people. In the process Schrader discovered some facts unknown to him about the Russian.

"It was interesting. I didn't realize he had been on Fasizi in the Whitbread," said Schrader. "He left when his friend died in Punta del Este. He has also done an OSTAR in a 30-foot wooden boat."

BBWindofChange.jpg (16093 bytes) Wind of change Russia Foto Billy Black

Yazykov has the 271-hour penalty for arriving late to Charleston, the fleet having a five day jump on him, and the fact that to comply with race rules he must arrive in Cape Town at least seven days before the restart for Leg 2. Hopefully he will find good winds to get him to Cape Town before the deadline. Leaving so far behind the fleet, Yazykov is really alone. Unfortunately Yazykov is taking along with him an old elbow injury which is still painful.

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

31 54N

060 11W

5937

7

0

2140

2

Golding

Team Group 4

29 54N

062 17W

5959

6.8

21.7

2140

3

Hall

Gartmore Inv. Mg

30 38N

061 45W

5961

6.8

23.4

2140

4

Austissier

PRB

29 16N

063 10W

5976

6.7

39.1

2140

5

Thiercelin

Somewhere

29 34N

063 10W

5986

6.6

48.8

2140

6

Reidl

Project Amazon

31 11N

063 19W

6046

6.1

108.8

2140

7

Konioukhov

Mod Univ Human

28 50N

068 21W

6191

5

254

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

30 03N

062 58W

5993

6.6

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

29 43N

063 45W

6017

6.4

23.3

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

29 37N

064 10W

6031

6.3

37.8

2144

4

Davie

South Carolina

31 18N

063 42W

6066

6

72.3

2144

5

Stricker

Rapscallion III

30 24N

064 26W

6069

5.9

75.7

2144

6

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

30 40N

064 31W

6081

5.9

87.5

2144

7

Petersen

No Barriers

30 29N

065 37W

6123

5.5

129.3

2144

8

Hunter

Paladin II

31 31N

069 03W

6306

4.1

312.2

2144

9

Yazykov

Wind of Change Rus

32 42N

079 47W

6818

0

825

2144

Richard Konkolski
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