Day 19, Wednesday October 14, 1998

BBThiercelin.jpg (23340 bytes) Marc Thiercelin Foto Billy Black

This morning Thiercelin was just north of the equator making less than three knots. As soon as he crossed the line he emailed a rare report: "Hello Everyone, the boat Somewhere here… I crossed the equator at 7:31 GMT sailing close-hauled in 25 knots of wind with two reefs in the main and the staysail up…. I am in front of Isabelle, who is in second place by 80 miles in distance to the finish and by 150 miles in latitude. I am sailing down along the coast of my adopted country in order to get past the most East Point of Brazil (he has lived in Brazil). I will have to sail as close to the wind as possible and pass close to the Fernando de Noronha archipelago. I will be sailing along the coast for the rest of the day and tonight and should be able to begin to slide to the south tomorrow in the early afternoon. Otherwise, all is well onboard."

MSSomewhere.jpg (24606 bytes) Somewhere just before start Foto Billy Black
"This first leg of the race has been intense and difficult. The difficulty level is elevated and the smallest mistake is very costly. We have crossed the crappy Bermuda High, then Tropical Storm Lisa, then the Doldrums. Then the equator, where the violent squalls and clouds make you worship dry land. Well nothing has overwhelmed me so far and I am looking forward to making my way south. I am tackling my 10th day as the leader in the race and that makes all the hardship I've put myself through worthwhile…. Somewhere is a stunning boat, but she is very demanding, and unhappily doesn't let you do anything but sail her hard. Reading is basically impossible to do. And eating becomes an acrobatic act that demands a large dose of concentration. So I often just swallow an Energy Bar and leave the rest. Somewhere is a true seagoing Formula One craft. In that sense, she is not really a boat but a racing machine. News from me is quite rare because it is difficult to write in this shaker I live in. Imagine yourself trying to type a report while you are driving a four-by-four down a rough trail in Africa. And you would have to drive yourself, without a passenger to take the wheel. Anyway, welcome (with me) to the Southern Hemisphere (I won't be returning to the Northern Hemisphere until April 1999), and hello to all of you."

FolPRBDeck.jpg (34432 bytes) Austisier's PRB

The great beneficiary of the Doldrums was Isabelle. Yesterday, she was in fourth place and this morning second, while Golding and Hall dropped into third and fourth. In fifth, Giovanni continued to play a sneaky role. He wrote: "Ciao. Here we're battling away with the equatorial calms. The conditions are difficult because the wind constantly changes direction and intensity. You virtually go from storm conditions to nothing at all with 30 knots of wind one minute and 5 knots the next. You never get a moment's rest and the sleepless nights are beginning to tell. My hands are a mess from the salt water and I can't wait to catch the southeast trade winds that should be waiting in the southern Atlantic. The French call this area Pot-au-Noir, that I call the Black Hole."

BBFilaNarrow2.jpg (30596 bytes) Soldini's Fila Foto Billy Black

In Class II, the trio of Mouligne, Garside and Van Liew kept the top three places. Jean-Pierre reported: "I have been up for 48 hours, and steered most of last night. The wind kept on changing all the time and I had to constantly trim sails and adjust the water ballasts. The result is worth the effort, though... It looks as if I have increased my lead on Magellan to about 50 miles. In fact Magellan is now in third place having been overtaken over by Balance Bar."

Fourth-place Davie reported to race headquarters that his computer screen is on the strike. Golding also sent a report: "Last night four such squalls hit Team Group 4. It's normal to hit one or even two, but these arrived in such a way as to totally mess up every move to get going possible. The first one arrived and had me running before it, losing hard fought ground to windward, just to get sail off the boat. The second arrived the absolute moment I had put the sails back up. The third came so swiftly that the boat was tacked and laid over. Having got the boat upright I engaged autopilot which promptly tacked me again and laid the boat over again. Then I realized why! The rudders had become misaligned, the tiller bar slipping on the rudderstock when the boat made some serious sternway after the knockdown. Having fixed that I had just made a cup of tea and was thinking about a nap when the fourth one struck. Naturally I have lost some miles - but I've lost more trying to figure out how to get the best from the boat going upwind. It seems in the wind speed we have now she's either overpressed or does not have enough power to get through the seas. It's frustrating as I know I have spent many hours going either too high and slow, or too low and fast."
MSTeamGroup4Front.jpg (15878 bytes) Golding's Team Group 4 Foto Marek Slodownik

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Thiercelin

Somewhere

01 50S

036 29W

3621

7.8

0

2140

2

Austissier

PRB

01 16N

035 56W

3713

5.8

92.6

2140

3

Golding

Team Group 4

01 18N

036 07W

3723

8.8

102.2

2140

4

Hall

Gartmore

02 24N

035 33W

3740

8.1

119.2

2140

5

Soldini

Fila

05 12N

035 15W

3837

4

216.6

2140

6

Reidl

Project Amazon

17 35N

041 34W

4611

0

961

1222

7

Konioukhov

Mod Univ Human

12 24N

046 24W

4619

0

969

1314

Class 2

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

05 27N

038 07W

3975

2.2

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

03 43N

039 52W

3995

5

19.9

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

04 18N

039 40W

4002

6.1

27

2144

4

Davie

South Carolina

13 57N

039 32W

4378

6.2

403.1

2144

5

Petersen

No Barriers

14 02N

041 16W

4456

6.4

480.8

2144

6

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

13 57N

041 33W

4465

7.8

490

2144

7

Stricker

Rapscallion III

16 04N

040 20W

4498

7.7

522.8

2144

8

Hunter

Paladin II

20 24N

045 07W

4875

3.7

899.6

2144

9

Yazykov

Wind of Change

18 22N

049 43W

4995

5.5

1019.4

2144

Richard Konkolski
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