Day 05, Wednesday December 9, 1998

Moredl.jpg (15007 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

The frontrunners continued their determined southerly course and the leaders reached just northwest of Prince Edward Island. High pressure had build south of the African continent and most competitors were pleased with getting light 15 to 20-knot winds.

FolIsabeleWratekStezen.jpg (28755 bytes) Isabelle Autissier
Isabelle took back the lead position from Soldini. After rounding her boat and placing it on the other tack, she was able to temporarily fix some pipes on her hydraulic system and return back on her southern course. She wrote: "Still working on the two tubes, only one is secure enough. Anyway, I may have to slow a bit sometimes... I have contact with the trawler Kerguelen de Tremrec on zone until the 15th and with the Marion Dufresne supply ship for the islands operating. Now I give them the fax number of the race in case." After loosing her boat during the last BOC Challenge she was definitively not going to take chances and rather made contacts with local shipping just in case she would need help.

FolFila.jpg (23256 bytes) Soldini's Fila

Soldini was only five miles behind Isabelle and he was able to email one of his rare messages: "Sorry about the long silence since we hit the Indian Ocean, but I've been rather busy. Since Sunday night we've been racing along with winds of 40-45 knots. Every now and then a wave takes a hold of FILA and throws her down its face at alarming speed. The noise and vibration are deafening. It's impossible to relax even for a moment. In these conditions your muscles are ready to react to every change in the boat's trim or speed -- you virtually become a part of the boat itself."

Mike Golding gained about 2 miles but still remained over 20 miles back. He wrote: "Just come through the first proper gale. Last night and most of today has seen wind of up to 50 knots and seas to match. I have adopted a conservative approach for my Open 60 Southern Ocean blooding and lost some miles as a result. Working on the foredeck at 18 - 22 knots trying to hank on the storm staysail was an experience. It is totally impossible to stand. Crawling is the only way and even then the boat can move so violently that despite crawling, you be still thrown around."

FolCrayValeyDrawing.jpg (22793 bytes) Flat bottomed, dinghy type "skimming dishes"

These types of racing machines are really fast, but these kinds of boats have been called "skimming dishes" long time ago and are definitively not seaworthy and comfortable for any deep ocean activity. Anybody can get bruises just being on them and live in fear of shaking a tooth loose.

FolHallTvar.jpg (24840 bytes)  Josh Hall was fifth. He wrote, "It's so different in a machine like this, it's so powerful, that even under a scrap of sail she is flying along with everything so loaded. Sure it's fast but it feels like hurtling down a ski slope not being able to turn your skis and just waiting for the crunch!"

He was woken from a nap early this morning with the boat heading into wind. The autopilot had failed. He switched to the backup and found that the bolt that secures the drive arm to the steering system had broken. Fortunately he had a spare and an hour later he was back to the primary pilot.

Fedor Konioukhov finally joined the Class I fleet. He left Cape Town yesterday at 1600 GMT.

FolMagelanAlphaAir4.jpg (16741 bytes) Garside's Magellan Alpha
The Second Class was led for last four days by Michael Garside with over 50 miles lead on second placed Mouligne. Mike wrote: "After some rough, wet, lonely sailing, Magellan Alpha and I are almost 1,000 miles closer to Auckland than we were four days ago. The conditions have not been the toughest I've met but I have two new firsts to add to my list that is starting to grow in the Southern Ocean. Suddenly Alphie accelerated and we were off on a wild ride touching 28.8 knots SOG at the peak. This is the fastest we have sailed together and I felt Christophe Augin would have approved that I had taken it lying down. Augin is reputed to be a great believer in conserving energy while racing. I am one of his confirmed disciples. Two of the goals I have for this or the next leg are to break through the 300-mile barrier in a 24-hour run, and to beat Pete Goss's record 315-mile-day he achieved during the 1996-97 Vendee Globe Challenge."

Jean-Pierre Mouligne, in second place, emailed: "It is gray and gloomy here as I am driving further and further South. The wind is fairly light and I spent all morning trying to get my diesel heater fired up. So far no luck… At least I have a great new insulated sleeping bag and I can see that getting out of it will require a good deal of willpower when the weather gets really cold."

MSHunter1.jpg (13079 bytes) Neil Hunter Photo Marek Slodownik

On Paladin II, Neil Hunter now has his own experience in swimming in the cold Indian Ocean. He described it in his email: "Yesterday hit a big round orange buoy that caused me to round up and slow down before taking off again with about 40 knots of breeze. Then there was the trouble with the wind steering breaking and I eventually got the three reefed main down and put up the storm jib… Anyway changed the slides on the main this morning so I can now get it up and down, as the new slides I put on in CT were too big, and when I eventually got the main up I had hell's own trouble getting it down. Not good when the wind picks up. Then went to work on trying to devise a fix for the wind vane and while studying the gear on the transom noticed something trailing from the rudder. Got the boat hook and pulled up the end of a 6-inch thick rope end infested with crabs and sea life and firmly hooked around the rudder. Probably picked it up when I hit the buoy. So I have just put on my 7 mm wet suit and have been for a swim in the Southern Ocean, after taking down all sail and trailing a line. The rope is now gone to Davey Jones locker and I am a little cleaner. The water is very clear out here -- didn't see any sharks. Would like a psychiatrist to explain to me why I am out here doing this."

In contrast, Petersen, who has chosen the most northerly route, was becalmed. "I have been trying to get SE to avoid a high pressure system," he wrote, "and instead, I ended slam bang right in the middle of it and was becalmed for about 8 hours. In the last 24 hours I have done 80 miles. The levels of frustration skyrocketed."

An hour after Konioukhov's departure, George Stricker rejoined the race with a new aluminum boom. Only Robin Davie was still in port.

Moredl3.jpg (17466 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Autissier

PRB

46 37S

039 38E

5820

15.3

0

2140

2

Soldini

Fila

45 27S

040 22E

5825

14

4.9

2140

3

Golding

Team Group 4

46 03S

039 25E

5843

15

22.8

2140

4

Thiercelin

Somewhere

45 10S

038 57E

5885

15.6

65.3

2140

5

Hall

Gartmore

45 05S

036 22E

5983

11.3

163.3

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mo.Uni.Human.

35 16S

016 46E

7052

4.8

1232.5

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Garside

Magellan Alpha

45 35S

034 58E

6020

11.7

0

2144

2

Mouligne

Cray Valley

45 34S

033 33E

6074

11.7

53.5

2144

3

Yazykov

Wind of Change

44 07S

032 35E

6153

9.5

132.4

2144

4

Van Liew

Balance Bar

43 35S

032 52E

6158

8.9

138.2

2144

5

Petersen

No Barriers

36 52S

027 53E

6581

2.8

560.9

2144

6

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

38 59S

023 57E

6645

4.7

624.9

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

37 53S

024 39E

6660

4.6

640.2

2144

8

Stricker

Rapscallion III

34 32S

018 05E

7033

8

1012.7

2144

9

Davie

South Carolina

33 54S

018 25E

7042

0

1022

1818

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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