Day 07, Friday October 2, 1998

The strong cold front south and east of Charleston should have caught only the back of fleet. For north of 30N, gusts up to 35-40 knots were predicted. The Class I leader Giovanni Soldini put roughly 1,000 miles between himself and Charleston during the first six days of the race. He held a 30-mile lead over Josh Hall in second position and a 46-mile lead over Mike Golding in third place.

The fleet finally got a taste of the violent side of the sea. Isabelle e-mailed: "Sea State... violet with white handkerchiefs...very stormy night."

MFMouligneFace2.jpg (15538 bytes) Jean-Pierre Mouligne Foto Marek Slodownik

While other competitors mentioned the squalls, Mouligne appeared to get the worst of it. In his e-mail he wrote: "The cold front passed me around 3 a.m. this morning and had the most violent squall I had ever seen. I had seen it coming for a while and I was down below in my foul weather gear ready to take over the autopilot in case it got overpowered. The gust hit with incredible violence and flattened Cray Valley on her side, throwing me backward into the cabin. We were at such an angle that I could not get out and had to crawl to get into the cockpit. I released the main sheet and the boat came back up and took off at 20 knots. I hand-steered almost down wind to reduce the pressure, trying to keep my eyes open in the rain that was hitting me horizontally. It only lasted a few minutes and the wind disappeared as quickly as it came."

FolPRBZad.jpg (25578 bytes) Austissier's PRB
Some of the Class I boats felt the blow as well. Running an almost parallel course to Cray Valley in fourth place was the PRB. Skipper Isabelle Autissier also fell afoul of the squalls. First she was hit by flying fish in the face and then suffered stormy weather that resulted in a lot of maneuvering because of the winds continuously changing from 25 knots to dead calm.

Autissier had a hard time adjusting to being at sea on her boat. "Since the start I have not slept well even one single night. Taken as a whole, if one takes into account the normal small things that break, the boat is technically just the way it should be. I am surprised that when I am sailing side by side with the newer boats, I have a definitely slower speed. I estimate that the deficit in speed is about 1 percent. On a circumnavigation that would add up to a day and a half!" she wrote. To compensate for that, Isabelle had to hand-steer and spend her nights at the helm. She complained that since the beginning, the wind had been consistently shifting by 20 degrees.

BBDavieFace.jpg (12705 bytes) Robin Davie Foto Billy Black

Robin Davie admitted trouble with the big alternator and the ballast pump. Using a small electric bilge pump placed down in the bilge he flooded the bilge and pumped up into the ballast tanks through the sight tubes, so he now had a slow but effective ballast system. To do that he had to cannibalize the toilet and other seawater plumbing.

With nearly 6 days past he was happy with his South Carolina. She sailed well, but it was a whole new ball game for Robin and it took a while to get her up to proper speed to keep pace with the Class 2 leaders. The weather had been kind to him with minimal calms and moonlit nights. Only last night and today he experienced the first stronger winds towards the nose with a few rainsqualls.

The prognosis for the weekend was not promising. A huge ridge of high pressure would separate the fleet from the trade winds. The top three Class I competitors, Soldini, Golding and Hall, should have some steady wind for a while longer, but eventually they should hit the ridge. Only Garside had made the correct prediction of light winds ahead. The breeze should get lighter and lighter, but since Garside was confident that his boat is better in light airs, this could be his chance to get ahead.

When the cold front passed over the Charleston, the late starter, Viktor Yazykov, got exactly what he needed. Strong wind gave him a boost as he tried to catch the fleet. Yazykov was entitled to finally get some good luck. His Wind of Change campaign was originally a two-man effort shared by Yazykov and American Bob Adams.

BBWindOfChangeBow.jpg (20204 bytes)  Wind of Change Russia Foto Billy Black

The plan was to build two identical "Open 40's" designed by Steve Baker. The boats were built in Russia. Yazykov was in charge of construction and Adams of some material and finance. Then they set out for the 7,000-mile voyage to Charleston that would serve them both as their qualifier trip. By the time they reached Gibraltar, the two sailors were no longer speaking to each other for a number of reasons, including money and sponsorship.

Adams set out for Charleston, but halfway across he radioed his official withdrawal from the race. Yazykov sailed first to Madeira, then on to Charleston. He arrived only two days before the start and for that he got a time penalty of nearly 11 days. His toughest competitor would be making up the time. He will have to arrive in Cape Town by 28th of November, seven days before Leg II starts, or he will not be allowed to continue. Two days ago, Adams sailed into Newport wondering whether Yazykov would set sail in the race.

BBYazykov.jpg (22012 bytes) Viktor Yazykov Foto Billy Black
Garside was really pleased to see that Viktor Yazykov has now started out from Charleston. He was looking forward to meeting him. He learned that Viktor had served with the Soviet Special Forces and also volunteered as a part of the Chernobyl clean up team.

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

31 38N

054 44W

5702

7.5

0

2140

2

Hall

Gartmore Inv. Mg

30 10N

056 36W

5726

7.3

44.1

2140

3

Golding

Team Group 4

20 22N

057 29W

5735

7.2

33.5

2140

4

Thiercelin

Somewhere

28 50N

058 38W

5766

7

63.9

2140

5

Austissier

PRB

28 44N

058 53 W

5773

7

71.2

2140

6

Reidl

Project Amazon

31 17N

059 10W

5873

6.3

171.2

2140

7

Konioukhov

Mod Univ Human

27 05N

065 42W

6016

5.3

314.5

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

29 47N

058 37W

5798

6.8

0

2144

2

Garside

Magelan Alpha

29 31N

059 00W

5805

6.8

6.9

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

29 00N

060 17W

5842

6.5

44.4

2144

4

Davie

South Carolina

31 05N

059 27W

5878

6.3

80.2

2144

5

Stricker

Rapscallion III

30 22N

060 22W

5892

6.2

94.5

2144

6

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

30 38N

060 46W

5918

6

120.1

2144

7

Petersen

No Barriers

30 31N

062 22W

5983

5.6

185.4

2144

8

Hunter

Paladin II

31 28N

066 00W

6170

4.3

372.5

2144

9

Yazykov

Wind of Change Rus

31 52N

076 42W

6656

1.1

858.5

2144

Richard Konkolski
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