Day 31, Monday October 26, 1998

The frontrunners were enjoying nice reaching conditions. Autissier did 337.6 miles, Thiercelin 351.4, Golding 355.4 and Hall 314 miles. With northerly winds, Isabelle Autissier again passed Thiercelin. Only 1,500 miles left to go to the finish line.

VlnaZalam.jpg (44281 bytes)
Foto Richard Konkolski

Isabelle Autissier mentioned: "Well, nobody can say this isn't a tight race. It's going to end like the 1978 Route du Rhum between Malinovski and Birch. The question is, which one of us will be Birch? At the finish of the first Route de Rhum race in 1978, Mike Birch beat Michel Malinovski by only 98 seconds."

Right then anybody from the frontrunners could cross the finish line first. The question was how much time would separate them. A worse situation was facing Thiercelin since he had received a 4 hours, 4 minutes and 4 seconds penalty for arriving late to Charleston. For him to win he would have to finish at least this much before the second boat. That might be very difficult to do.

Soldini had closed to within 64 miles of Hall. Joshua wrote: "Gio did a great run. All of these boats are capable of it and we have amazing sailing conditions with our boat speed rarely under 17 knots for 24 hours now. I guess Gio is pushing very hard to catch up and is doing a hell of a job." Yesterday Soldini had a record day sailing 381.8 nautical miles in 24 hours and then 386.9 nautical miles in the next 24-hour period.

FolFilaDeckAir.jpg (21513 bytes) Fila

Josh continued: "We have posted 2 days of 335 miles. All the lead boats are capable of this record and better. It's just a question of whether you risk the race for one day's run. These dilemmas are a constant on board so I try to follow my instincts all the time. On Friday I decided to try and cut the corner of the high a bit more than the others to try and save miles sailed. The danger is running out of wind nearer to the high center but we seemed to be making little impression on the two leaders by just following them."

Class II leader suffered a heavy knock, JP reported: "All was great until last night... We had moved fast all weekend and I had built a nice little lead on Balance Bar. As we were in a squally area, I was sitting at the navigation station watching the radar screen and enjoying a little beef with mashed potatoes in its plastic container. The wind was slowly dying and changing direction so I went outside to start getting ready for a tack."

"As I was releasing the leeward runner a blast of wind hit us sideways and almost knocked the boat on its side. I ended up waist high in water clinging to the boom above the water. I had my harness on and managed to crawl back in the cockpit with water gushing in everywhere. The wind at that point was about 40 knots and I had to struggle to first roll the genoa, then put 2 reefs in the main sail. It was a half-hour of intense fighting.

BBCrayValleyTrimmed.jpg (23895 bytes)
Cray Valley Foto Billy Black

Totally soaked and exhausted, I finally went down below to get a rest and found that the computer had started to eat my beef and mashed potatoes and that it was all over the key board. It has been blowing 35 knots all night, I am straight upwind moving away from Cape Town and Cray Valley is taking a terrible banging. Things are not always great out there and I just have to hang on until the situation improves."

Van Liew was experiencing similar situation: "Last night was a real struggle. The winds clocked from a rather pleasant northerly at 20 knots to 35 knots straight from Cape Town. The winds died for about 20 minutes (just enough time to get the sails all up) and then bang, faster than I could reef and tack the winds had built. Needless to say I am frustrated at not being able to point where I would like to and I am trying to get south to more favorable conditions, but that means I am going away from the mark. I hope JP has been dealt the same frustrating hand, otherwise I am going to be double frustrated."

Michael Garside made his decision to go east. He wrote: "This seriously looks like the parting of the ways. For the last couple of days I have gradually been forced to level off my southbound course and head east. I have been drifting under a light northerly and as I closed on the cold front that's been moving north the wind has shifted to due south. My easterly progress is being cast in concrete. I saw from this morning's position reports that Brad is being forced more to the south and J-P has actually had to head west in his bid to continue southwards. Brad emailed me with the news that he had spent the night beating into the teeth of a 35-knot southeasterly. He also asked if I had some cunning plan in going eastwards. I had to be honest and admit the truth. The last 2,500 miles of this trip is not going to be easy."
FolGarsideSteerin2.jpg (34331 bytes)  Garside

On another hand Robin Davie was satisfied with his sailing progress but he wishes he could do better: "This race is certainly a great contrast to the last race. Four years ago in my 21-year-old, 40-foot cruising boat I was at 06 24 North and 33 40 West on the 29th day at sea, so in rough terms I am approximately 1,320 miles ahead of the game 4 years ago. I had hoped to be more, and looking at Cray Valley ahead of me I would like to have been another 600 miles further down the line, but maybe that's being greedy."

ZapadVlna.jpg (29061 bytes)
Foto Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Austissier

PRB

36 16S

009 20W

1366

13.2

0

2140

2

Thiercelin

Somewhere

36 10S

009 50W

1390

12.8

24.4

2140

3

Golding

Team group 4

36 59S

011 07W

1451

14.8

85.1

2140

4

Hall

Gartmore

34 01S

012 31W

1535

12.3

168.8

2140

5

Soldini

Fila

35 50S

014 12W

1603

11.7

237.6

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod Univ Human

05 34N

035 58W

3883

0

2439.4

1450

7

Reidl

Project Amazon

Retired

         

Class 2

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

31 36S

026 40W

2262

8

0

2144

2

Van Liew

Balance Bar

30 16S

026 25W

2272

7.7

10.2

2144

3

Garside

Magellan Alpha

23 46S

027 03W

2445

1.5

1.183.55

2144

4

Davie

South Carolina

19 20S

032 28W

2835

5

573.2

2144

5

Stricker

Rapscallion III

09 55S

029 22W

2988

9

726.5

2144

6

Petersen

No Barriers

06 35S

032 15W

3245

6.5

983.5

2144

7

Saito

Shuten-dohji

04 25S

033 27W

3382

5.4

1119.9

2144

8

Yazykov

Wind of Change

00 57N

030 18W

3446

5

1184.5

2144

9

Hunter

Paladin II

03 56N

030 12W

3564

0.5

1302.5

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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