Day 14, - Friday October 09, 1998

By evening, Thiercelin was over 60 miles ahead of Mike Golding. Josh Hall took back the second place while Golding dropped to third and Isabelle stayed fourth. Giovanni Soldini did a nice comeback over the night, passing Class II front-runners Mouligne, Garside and Van Liew.

bbhall.jpg (21542 bytes) Josh Hall Foto Billy Black

Josh Hall made a summary on his last days of sailing: "Early in the week we were, I think, very well positioned. 1st or second place and the most easterly of the leading pack… I had to make the decision to lose some hard won miles because of the tropical storm Lisa and head due south to pass down the west side of the storm. Our satellite image capturing equipment allowed me to skirt just 30 miles west of the center, therefore sacrificing as few miles as possible…. I was blasting along at up to 28 knots and was almost under control while doing so!! In the large confused seas the boat was slamming off some waves badly and in one major free fall, the masthead light and wind instrument wand exploded off. This means for the rest of Leg 1 I will have no wind data. However, I know the boat very well and will rely on my personal feelings. As the conditions abated I could see that some of the grub screws holding our headsail furling system had worked loose. I rigged up the bosun chair and hauled myself aloft. It was an exhausting journey climbing and hanging on tight as each wave tried to bounce me around like a rag doll. Job done, I went to release the line to descend to find that it had jammed. I got stuck halfway up the forestay, getting dark, squall line of wind approaching - definitely a Hamlet moment! There was nothing for it but to climb out of the bosun chair and descend by hand. Suffice to say that I was a pretty happy camper to reach the deck!"

FolGartmoreFrontAir.jpg (20180 bytes) Hall's Gartmore

"Yesterday found us in the opposite conditions - well and truly in the hole with 1 to 5 kts of very fragile wind. A mirror sea and blistering sun was very pretty but not conducive to getting to Cape Town! It made for a lot of hand steering to keep the boat going but also allowed a respite for minor repairs and maintenance jobs. I suspect it will be a rather light air struggle to the equator. "

BBTeamGroupNarrow.jpg (26556 bytes) Team Group 4 Foto Billy Black

Mike Golding had few relatively quiet days. First he gained on the boats to the right of him, getting to within 5 miles of the lead position, but then loses. "I've been catching up on sleep and chores and have perhaps not been as on the ball as I would like", he wrote, "but now I feel refreshed and ready for another serious push. I'm happy with my tactical position, provided the weather does what it's supposed to I should see some gains soon. If I can just stay to the left then there is the possibility that Somewhere, PRB and Gartmore will find themselves unable to clear Recife. If so it could be a good gain for the Brits. We are about half way through the leg, not in distance but perhaps in time. With all the problems thus far, I am happy that I could not be in a better position."

At the same time Isabelle Autissier e-mailed: "For the moment it is not too bad, and I am able to use the genoa in these light winds. When I am sailing upwind, I have to support the stay with the gennaker halyard. I cannot use the gennaker sailing upwind, and downwind it will be complicated. Let's just say that at the moment I am sailing with a normal sail configuration, but with reduced potential. During the past 24 hours, while I have been doing the repairs, I absolutely could not pay attention to sailing the boat. I knew that I was not on the optimum course, but without my light air sails, it was impossible to do any differently. It was better to concentrate only on the repairs instead of doing everything badly at the same time."

BBFilaBow.jpg (24738 bytes) Fila Foto Billy Black
At the time when almost all front runners had some kind of trouble, Giovani was full of optimism: "Hi everyone. Here the wind has dropped to about 8 knots. We are far enough east to use the influence of the tropical depression and I'm hoping to soon hit the currents from the high-pressure area ahead. Everything depends on how long it will take to pass from one system to the next and how active the tropical depression will be that's forming at 37 W 12 N. If it is active enough it will interrupt the trade winds and the leading boats will be slowed down. In any case, we're well positioned for crossing the Equator. Ciao for now."

There were no position changes in Class II. During last 24 hours Mouligne did only 65 miles. Most probably frustrated, he wrote: "I was just about to write another gloomy report on the lack of wind, when suddenly this morning a fresh wind from the North appeared and I am hoping like mad that it will stay... Last night was flat calm I had not moved all day and I was very frustrated, so I decided to treat myself and I opened my unique bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. I have seen very little sea life since the start of the race, not even dolphins, which usually like to follow boats and play with the bow wave. So far no sharks, no whales and no mermaids! The only fish I have seen all the time are the small flying fish, which jump out of the water."

Garside, who was short distance from JP commented: "Magellan Alpha had the shortest run yesterday of any boat in the fleet. Perhaps I'm not spending enough time trimming and tweaking or perhaps I did find the deepest part of the wind hole. Anyway we are up and running - if you can call 6 knots running." As Mouligne he also noticed no life around: "This has to be one of the most lifeless parts of the ocean. No birds, no sign of sea life."

BBPetersenFace.jpg (16324 bytes) Neal Petersen Foto Billy Black

Second week at sea was closing and almost everybody was solving some kind of problem: "I saw the mail light on the Satcom on so I went to download the message, when there was a loud explosion on deck and serious flapping of the spinnaker," wrote Petersen. "I rushed up to fear the worst of a shredded spinnaker, but not so. The stern base of the bowsprit had sheered totally and the pole was rammed into the deck." He grabbed the downhaul and began pulling the sock down. Then the spinnaker filled and forced the sock sky ward. He then felt the heat in his left hand and let the line go. It was to late as the rope has already burned his hand.

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Thircelin

Somewhere

12 57N

042 58W

4488

9.3

0

1540

2

Hall

Gartmore Inv Mg

14 06N

043 20W

4549

10.2

61.2

1540

3

Golding

Team Group 4

14 48N

042 47W

4552

8.9

64.7

1540

4

Austissier

PRB

13 40N

044 47W

4595

9

107.8

1540

5

Soldini

Fila

22 20N

040 58W

4781

7.2

293.9

1540

6

Reidl

Project Amazon

24 26N

047 29W

5132

0

453.9

1606

7

Konioukhov

Mod Univ Human

23 13N

057 33W

5520

0

842.2

1010

Class 2

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

17 12N

048 03W

4877

6.1

0

1544

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

17 11N

048 19W

4888

6.1

10.4

1544

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

17 17N

048 16W

4889

6.6

12.2

1544

4

Stricker

Rapscallion III

24 33N

045 40W

5062

6.4

184.6

1544

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

23 34N

047 46W

5110

4.5

232.9

1544

6

Davie

South Carolina

23 42N

047 40W

5112

6.5

234.8

1544

7

Petersen

No Barriers

23 40N

048 32W

5147

4.5

269.6

1544

8

Hunter

Paladin II

26 28N

050 18W

5328

5.9

450.4

1544

9

Yazykov

Wind of Change Rus

27 11N

05957W

5765

6.6

888

1544

Richard Konkolski
Return back to First Leg