Day 28, Friday October 23, 1998

Everybody was watching Thiercelin and his every move. If he should sail too far toward the center of the high, he could get stuck with light air and give new chance to the others behind him. Until now he was holding a southerly heading, trying to get around high-pressure ridge and south enough to reach strong westerly wind. But he had no opportunity to get there first for Isabelle who was finally able to pass him and move to first position.
BBPRBNarrow.jpg (17279 bytes) PRB Foto Billy Black

Within 100 miles distance the four leading boats were trying their best. Josh Hall, the last from the group reported: "Early Wednesday morning a huge squall cloud descended and that was it. Wind went from 5 to 35 knots. That made for some rapid sail plan reduction and we eventually ended up with just 3 reefs in the mainsail and the tiny staysail up forward to power us at 10+ knots into, through and over some pretty horrible 12-foot seas. So life has been a bit bouncy again."

BBGartmoreBowDetail.jpg (20332 bytes) Garmore Foto Billy Black

"The temperature has fallen as this was a cold front heralding cooler air, and for the first time since Charleston I have donned trousers and even my sailing boots have seen some action now. As we approach the end of our 4th week at sea the boat is in excellent shape. Our only real problem being the lack of wind instruments that I suspect costs us maybe 10 miles a day through missing slight wind shifts that the boat would normally follow automatically. However, we still seem to be on the pace with the others with very little separation. Team Group 4 and us swap places all the time and the two French boats remain a frustrating 100 miles ahead. We need a bit of weather luck during the next 10 days and I am sure it will come."

More than 200 miles behind this group, Soldini was doing his best to recover his 400 miles worth of earlier loss. He was in a distant fifth place, when he ran into trouble with his mast rack. He wrote: "I noticed that there was a tear in the mainsail between section I and II and so, this morning, I lowered it to try to repair the hole. Except that the top travelers got stuck halfway. This is because some of the screws holding the saddle of one of the mainsail travelers had come unscrewed and the screws were sticking on the track and damaging it."

"I had to climb up the mast to dismantle the broken traveler and hammer the track back into place where it had been damaged. Then I replaced both of the travelers involved. I repaired the mainsail too but I used adhesive Dacron, which isn't holding. In fact, it has only been up a half an hour and I have just noticed that it is already coming unstuck."

BBSoldini copy.jpg (17867 bytes) Soldini Foto Billy Black

He had to climb the mast three times before the repair was finished. He lost at least three valuable hours. During the past few days he was running with the fastest average speed of almost 12 knots.

In Class II Mouligne got to the west of the leader overnight and then he took the lead again. Holding third in Class II, Mike Garside was quiet as he was trying to solve his problem with the swing keel. Finally he broke his silence with this report: "Things are looking up. For the first time in seven days I have made ground on Brad and JP. Not a huge amount, I have to admit. Having lost 275 miles, the 10 Magellan Alpha took back from Balance Bar and the 17 from Cray Valley in the last 24 hours are mere drops in the ocean. But I've started on the long haul back to the front."

Jean-Pierre, now in first, again wrote: "Wet and bouncy ride as I am crossing latitude 20 South. The wind is still from the Southeast and I had to take one reef last night, then a second one this morning. With 2 reef and the staysail Cray Valley is very balanced and feels good, but Cape Town is not approaching very fast on this tack as I am diving South.

BezvetriKladka.jpg (41629 bytes)
Foto Richard Konkolski

Things should start to change in the next few days - with a cold front approaching from the South we should be able to make fast progress. I can't wait; this is a long leg. Tomorrow I would have been at sea for 28 days, my own record, and realistically I have another 2 weeks to go before reaching Cape Town. The temperature is dropping by the day. Since the start I had only been wearing a swimsuit and topsiders day and night, but it is over, probably for 6 months. I have a one-piece sailing outfit on, and leather boots."

Robin Davie had found himself heading in towards Brazil. He had to sail quite a bit closer to the wind than he would want to do and the result of being to close-hauled was that his speed was dropping. Also Neal Petersen was finally on the tack south, sixty miles to the magic line. This was his 5th equatorial crossing under sail, the 4th solo.

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Austissier

PRB

28 28S

025 50W

2278

10.2

0

2140

2

Thiercelin

Somewhere

29 17S

026 13W

2281

11.2

2.6

2140

3

Golding

Team Group 4

28 16S

027 18W

2355

12.7

77.1

2140

4

Hall

Gartmore

27 08S

027 11W

2373

10.5

94.8

2140

5

Soldini

Fila

27 40S

031 55W

2596

11

318.4

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod Univ Human

05 59N

039 36W

4063

0

1748

1030

7

Reidl

Project Amazon

Retired

 

4611

     

Class 2

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valey

21 53S

030 57W

2689

9.4

0

2144

2

Van Liew

Balance Bar

21 14S

030 44W

2696

9.5

6.7

2144

3

Garside

Magellan Alpha

17 59S

033 41W

2936

9.7

246.6

2144

4

Davie

South Carolina

09 31S

033 52W

3218

8.1

528.9

2144

5

Stricker

Rapscallion III

01 01S

029 26W

3328

6.2

638.8

2144

6

Petersen

No Barriers

00 47N

031 37W

3499

6.6

809.4

2144

7

Saito

Shuten-dohji

02 01N

032 17W

3577

4.7

888.2

2144

8

Yazykov

Wind of Change

04 52N

031 52W

3674

6.6

985.3

2144

9

Hunter

Paladin II

06 04N

033 02W

3775

3.6

1086.2

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
Return back to First Leg