Day 57, Saturday November 21, 1998

MSSaito5.jpg (12240 bytes)
Minoru Saito Foto Marek Slodownik

The sixty-four year old Minoru Saito crossed the finish line in the early morning to capture seventh place in Class II. He crossed the finish line after being caught by a very light breeze just outside of Cape Town. His official time was 55 days, 9 hours, 50 minutes and 22 seconds. His official finish came at 02:05:22 Greenwich Mean Time. It was his third solo around the world races. During his first BOC Challenge in 1990-91, he came in third in Class II. Four years later in 1994-95 he tried the race again with his current boat.

Saito was skilled in fixing anything on his boat. He had to be because he lacked the means to pay for shore crew. While others had teams to work on their boats, Saito had only himself to do all the jobs. He had no sponsor. Compared to other boats in the race, his older boat appeared to be an old-fashioned design from a different era.

MSSaito3.jpg (18181 bytes) Minoru Saito Foto Marek Slodownik
Altogether, Saito had more than his share of problems. During the last 10 days he found air in his diesel fuel system and had to hand-pump the fuel to the engine. Then the generator broke down. His most serious problem during the leg was his autopilot, which broke halfway from Charleston. His backup system, a Monitor windvane, also proved faulty. By his words it worked in light conditions but in strong wind it was of no help whatsoever, forcing him to hand steer. He said the leg was much too "busy" for him.

BBShutenDohjiII.jpg (27737 bytes)
Shuten-dohji II Foto Billy Black

Saito showed good performance at the start of the race. Also later, when the fleet began to spread, Saito kept a steady position in the middle of the Class II fleet. Only later, the oldest fleet sailor with his old boat was falling more and more behind the leaders.

MSShutDohDock.jpg (17020 bytes) Shuten-dohji II Foto Marek Slodownik
With Saito in Cape Town, three sailors were still at sea. Robin Davie was 268 miles behind him, Neil Hunter still had 738 miles to go and Fedor Konioukhov 924 miles.

Robin Davie was expected to be the next to finish. His sea-hand-made replacement steering was able to work well with a bit of boat speed. But now he developed trouble with his cooking system. First he thought he ran out of cooking gas, but then he discovered a fault in the cooker itself. He had a second cooker ready to fit on its way out from Charleston. It will be badly needed on the cold Southern Ocean.

Morning the wind fell lighter and he hoisted more mainsail. Unfortunately the sail went down because of broken halyard. "The spare halyard I wanted to reeve is the one I normally use for the bosuns chair - so it was a no-chair climb to the masthead to replace the halyard. It took an hour - and left me with aching arms, legs and thighs. At the same time an inspection of the mast head shows plenty of damage up there, so it looks as though the mast will need to come out of the boat to be worked on in Cape Town." he wrote. He was hoping to get into Cape Town by Monday evening.

Zapad4.jpg (22731 bytes)
Foto Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Golding

Team Group 4

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

2

Autissier

PRB

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

3

Thiercelin

Somewhere

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

4

Hall

PRB

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

5

Soldini

Fila

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

6

Konioukhov

Mod Univ Human

34 49S

000 13W

924

4.4

923.6

1340

7

Reidl

Project Amazon

Retired

0

0

0

0

0

Class 2

Place

Skiper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

4

Stricker

Rapscallion III

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

5

Yazykov

Wind of Change

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

6

Petersen

No Barriers

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

7

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

Cape

Town

0

0

0

0

8

Davie

South Caroline

35 50S

013 31E

268

4.9

268

2144

9

Hunter

Paladin II

35 05S

003 33E

738

5.2

738.1

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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