Day 35, Friday October 30, 1998

Only a day after his dramatic move from third to first-place, Mike Golding was speeding towards for the finish line in Cape Town and victory. He was 42 miles ahead of Isabelle. With only 140 miles to go it looked impossible for Isabelle to catch up.

FolTeamGroupAir.jpg (25388 bytes)
Team Group 4

Mike Golding reported: "It is been a long time coming, I have been getting as much weather info as humanly possible from the boat. Bit by bit the conditions did what they are supposed to, the high which blocked our way has either gone under the Cape or merged to the North, whatever, the wind shift I have waited for came and I knew I had got it first - brilliant! Being to the south has meant my part of the system has moved towards Cape Town faster. Finally the front has overtaken us and with luck the breeze setting up now is the normal southerly flow which will take us most of the way. It's time for a clear out of food that will not be used, and today I went through the stores to see what, if anything was left. There wasn’t much, just some foul fruit and a few meals, which I would rather starve than eat."

Later, in his second message he wrote: "A 'full on' 24 hours winds have been much stronger than predicted with a small low developing under the Cape. I steered Team Group 4 south of my track in the hope of getting a final boost, but got slightly more than I bargained for. Then as the breeze swung south came the time to gybe. This is not an easy maneuver at the best of times. Water ballast, keel, mast and sails all have to be changed in an exact sequence and with a degree of precision. My first attempt in 30 knots plus ended with the boat smacked over on her side. I was slightly out on my timing and forgot to lock the furled genoa which promptly unfurled itself to the full force of the wind. I was pushing too hard! Best speed to date is 27kts on the GPS amazing and scary." Mike was averaging 13 knots and he could be at Cape Town early Saturday morning.

zapa4.jpg (43331 bytes)
Foto Richard Konkolski

Autissier, now on second position, also cleared the high, but was having more problems with her rig. She reported: "I've suffered a knockdown. The spinnaker ripped as I was lowering it before a squall hit, and went overboard. My jury-rig repair to the chainplate is showing signs of weakness. I can no longer use the gennaker. All I have left is the solent [a genoa with the sheet point forward of the mast]. The two upper mainsail battens are broken. In other words, it's time to make port."

She continued: "Since Mike Golding often sails 1 to 1.5 knots faster than me, I no longer have any hope of catching him. Mike is getting the same wind I am, and is sailing a course parallel to mine. There's nothing to stop him. I will probably arrive 5 hours behind him, or a little more. That's no big deal, and it's not a big handicap in the context of a round-the-world race. There are three legs left, and the two in the Southern Ocean are in strong winds, where my slight speed handicap should disappear. And then we'll be racing again."

FolIsaUStezne.jpg (36453 bytes) Isabelle Autissier

Isabelle had slightly less wind than Golding. Marc Thiercelin, about 70 miles back, was even closer to the high and therefore faced bigger trouble with closing the gap on the first two boats. Thiercelin reported that he lost gennaker, but he was still doing good progress. He himself did not expect to finish so soon. His support crew had not yet arrived at Cape Town and he had to ask Race Headquarter for help after crossing finish line.

In Class II Mouligne held a lead of over 100 miles over the second boat. Mike Garside continued to place third. JP wrote: " Cold and dreary morning here at 38 South, but I am flying! 300 miles on distance to Cape Town in the last 24 hours and 14-to-16 knots average speed this morning, Cray Valley is literally screaming along in these conditions. I have slept all night in short naps fully dressed in foul weather gear ready to jump and take a reef in a hurry. I have the full main up, the staysail and I am max out on water ballast. It is a stressful ride but the seconds of longitude are coming down so quickly on the GPS that I do not want to touch anything. I have a 100-mile lead on Balance Bar and close to 200 on Magellan, but with 1600 miles to go and a wounded mainsail it is not a lot and I have to hang on."

In third place, Michael Garside reported: "At last! It looks as though I've found the wind, which has made Magellan Alpha leap into life. It's a northerly, blowing at 23 knots at 130 degrees on the port quarter. The apparent wind is 10 degrees forward of the beam. I've got two reefs in the main and - to hell with it - the genoa, to get some real drive! The sea is just beginning to build as we cut across it diagonally towards Cape Town. There's enough lift to get us surfing on long bounding strides. We are hurled forward at 15 -16 - 17 -18 - 19 and then 20 knots. Blankets of foaming white water race across the deck skid up and over the coach roof and crash into the cockpit. The hull is twitching and jerking like a rickety fair ground ride. The rudders thrum with a peculiar vibration that is not cavitation. The twin posts that hold the portside keel piston crack and groan in protest."

FolGarsideSteerin.jpg (21574 bytes) Magellan Alpha

In fourth, Robin Davie this morning informed race officials that he lost the rudder. He said: "Lost rudder. No assistance is necessary. Tell my friends I am sailing on to Cape Town." Davie was 2,334 miles from Cape Town and he will have a tough time getting there. It was a sad story but Robin is the most skilled sailor in the whole fleet and he should be able to handle this trouble as well as he did many times before during previous races.

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South Carolina Foto Billy Black

At the end of the fleet Neil Hunter finally crossed the line: "Well it's been one slow old trip through the doldrums but have finally crossed the line. Seas have gone from calm to bumpy. Don't know what is generating this 2m ground swell but there must be some decent weather system to the east."

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Golding

Team Group 4

34 50S

015 050E

140

12.9

0

2140

2

Austissier

PRB

35 16S

015 09E

182

12.6

41.4

2140

3

Thiercelin

Somewhere

34 50S

014 20E

210

13.9

69.9

2140

4

Hall

Gartmore

35 56S

006 53E

580

7.4

429.6

2140

5

Soldini

Fila

40 40S

002 21E

867

6.8

726.4

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod Univ Human

00 55N

034 06W

3616

3.8

3475.6

1805

7

Reidl

Project Amazon

Retired

         

Class 2

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

37 54S

012 35W

1519

10.6

0

2144

2

Van Liew

Balance Bar

36 25S

014 39W

1622

9.7

102.9

2144

3

Garside

Magellan Alpha

34 04S

015 34W

1684

13.7

164.2

2144

4

Davie

South Carolina

28 03S

026 48W

2334

2.4

814.5

2144

5

Stricker

Rapscallion III

22 19S

028 42W

2565

7.9

1045.7

2144

6

Petersen

No Barriers

17 05S

030 26W

2801

7

1282

2144

7

Saito

Shuten-dohji

13 35S

032 03W

2992

5.4

1473.1

2144

8

Yazykov

Wind of Change

09 27S

030 01W

3036

7.6

1516.7

2144

9

Hunter

Paladin II

02 51S

031 10W

3335

6

1815.7

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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