Day 04, Tuesday December 9, 1998

MSFilaStart.jpg (23340 bytes) Fila Photo Marek Slodownik

By morning Giovanni Soldini overtook the lead and later he was over 15 miles in front of Autissier. He was averaging about 15 knots with bursts into the high 20s. Just after midnight local time the race headquarters received email message from Autissier: "Problems with the keel on the port side. Everything is moving unnormally (sic) in the carbon. I go north for awhile and try to contact designer Jean-Marie Finot and my shore crew."

Then, six hours later, the second message followed: "Back on the road. Maybe I will have to be a bit slower in bad weather. I have contacted Pascal Cong who is confident that I will not lose the keel! That's pretty good news. The fixations of the port tube are moving a lot. Jeqan has arrived in Paris and I'm expecting instructions to work with the starboard tube only. (I'm fed up with these crises... I would like to make a normal leg for once!)."

FolIsabeleBow.jpg (28918 bytes) Isabelle Utissier
Her keel could swing 35 degrees to each side and the movement was controlled hydraulically. Her portside piping had developed some problems, but she should be able to solve these difficulties by using the other side tubing only.

FolTeamGroupLight.jpg (15166 bytes) Golding's Team Group 4
Mike Golding who slipped to fourth place send a message describing yesterday's randevouse with soldini and Thiercelin: "I had fallen back twenty miles or so but the dawn light revealed FILA and SOMEWHERE just behind me. The seas were still huge and I can only imagine they had a worse night than I did. Marc Thiercelin called up on the VHF and sounded very relieved to have the night over and to hear another voice. Marc completed the grueling Vendee Globe Challenge coming in second. To hear the genuine relief at having the night over has given me much more confidence, if it was bad for him it must have been bad! We are still trucking southwards in the search of the westerlies which are the conveyor belt of this race. The question now is how much to cut the corner towards the mark. Isabelle has done well out to the left and I don't want to let her get away but Gio and Marc at last sight were intent on a more southerly route. Marc and I sailed side by side this afternoon, battling for the odd boat length or two. His boat SOMEWHERE is another sistership to Team Group 4, only without the swing keel. He had pace on me at times in this moderate to strong running conditions, TG4 really comes to life on a reach. As the squalls came through TG4 would sail lower and faster - a good combination. Still it was great to see the two boats surfing along at twenty knots plus, though I have now slid away to the east as we were building up to break something if we continued to push each other that hard."

MSCrayValDoc.jpg (16706 bytes)
Cray Valley Photo Marek Slodownik

In Class II Mouligne had skipped past Viktor Yazykov, who reported a top speed of 24 knots. But Garside was still holding a lead with average speed of over 12 knots. Jean-Pierre described his sailing in his e-mail: "Last night Cray Valley took such a roll that the bucket I kept in the cockpit went flying overboard. I do have another one and will keep it down below. I should pass close to Prince Edward Islands, south of Crozet, aiming for the south side of Kerguelen. It will be cold and miserable but it should be fast - beside the fact that the miserable conditions will be the same for everybody."

MSHunter4.jpg (16191 bytes) Neil Hunter Photo Marek Slodownik
Over 450 miles back Neil Hunter reported: "If it seems I am going somewhat slower, I am. Winds yesterday were to 45 knots so dropped the main when Mildred, the Monitor [wind vane], broke and am proceeding along under storm jib and a bit of headsail with George, the electronic tiller autopilot, steering. Have to change slides on the head of the main when the seas allow and will continue with George while I see if I can jury rig Mildred to work again."

Also Petersen sorted his problems. He wrote: "I have finally gotten things sorted out from yesterdays knockdown. This morning I filled the holes in the starboard ballast tank where the bunk had pulled out, and in a few more hours the tank will be usable again. Shortly after dawn I hoisted the mainsail with two reefs in it. I have been incredibly tired, taking many deep naps."

MSStricker2.jpg (16538 bytes) George Stricker Photo Marek Slodownik
Two more boats were back in the race. George Stricker was able to replace his broken carbon-fiber boom with a new aluminum boom. He was able to find a local boatyard that began to work on the new boom for him even before he got back to Cape Town. The new boom was installed early Tuesday and Stricker was towed to the starting line for restart the same day late afternoon.

MSKonioukhov1.jpg (12458 bytes) Fedor Konioukhov Photo Marek Slodownik

Tuesday evening left also Fedor Konioukhov. Both skippers were over 960 miles behind the leading boat. Only one more boat was left in the Cape Town dock. Robin Davie was planning to start Leg 2 some time on Wednesday.

Mored13.jpg (11529 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

44 42S

033 36E

6088

15

0

2140

2

Autissier

PRB

44 42S

033 09E

6104

14

15.4

2140

3

Thiercelin

Somewhere

45 09S

032 26E

6114

12.2

25.7

2140

4

Golding

Team Group 4

44 48S

032 38E

6119

13.7

30.2

2140

5

Hall

Gartmore

43 52S

031 52E

6178

11.4

90

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human

34 01S

018 02E

7051

1.7

962.6

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Garside

Magellan Alpha

43 24S

031 06E

6221

9.7

0

2144

2

Mouligne

Cray Valley

42 55S

029 51E

6282

10.4

61.1

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

42 30S

028 47E

6335

9.5

113.6

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

41 38S

029 36E

6339

9.3

117.2

2144

5

Petersen

No Barriers

36 47S

027 17E

6606

6.1

384.5

2144

6

Hunter

Paladin II

38 21S

023 39E

6674

4.1

452.9

2144

7

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

38 16S

022 26E

6721

4.7

499.2

2144

8

Davie

South Carolina

33 54S

018 25E

7042

0

820.9

1818

9

Stricker

Rapscallion III

33 57S

018 05E

7052

2.8

830.2

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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