Day 10, Monday December 14, 1998

The weather was favoring the fleet with westerly winds. The leaders had to watch out for the positioning of the large high sitting between Africa and Australia. The rear of the fleet had to worry about the second high, located south of Madagascar, and a low developing close to Madagascar's coast. But for now the front runners were averaging over 15 knots.

BBThiercelin.jpg (23340 bytes) Marc Thiercelin Photo Billy Black
Isabelle had to watch her countryman Thiercelin. For quite a long time he was in fourth place. Few days past he passed Golding in third and now he overtook Soldini and was in second place less than 20 miles behind Autissier.

FolIsabelePoklopSmall.jpg (27780 bytes) Isabelle Autissier

Golding lost some miles to the fact that the new agreed upon waypoint was not in his favor, same as for Isabelle. But both did not lose too much and Isabelle was still dominating the race. She described her situation in email: "We passed the racers' waypoint - 46 South 70 East - yesterday at nightfall, and passed the official waypoint - 52 South 72 East [north of Heard Island] - this morning (it's already early afternoon here). In this business of the racers' waypoint, I didn't suffer as much as I thought I would. It's pretty weird, because it looked at the outset as if it would be very much to my disadvantage. Today the wind is unsettled, from the stern, which means lots of sail handling to find the right mix of canvas. I still hesitate to do too much gybing, as the gybes slam the boat hard. I often wind up putting in an extra reef so I can gybe more gently. But that's exhausting, because I have to put in the reef, gybe, then shake it out again. We aren't going much further south, since the next official waypoint is at 46 South, and a heading of about 100 degrees will get me there. The barometer is still very high; a powerful high pressure system is nipping at our heels, though we still have wind."

MSPascalConq.jpg (14087 bytes) Pascal Conq Photo Marek Slodownik
Pascal Conq, who built PRB with Jean-Marie Finot, explained well why Isabelle is doing so well. He said: "The main explanation is that Isabelle knows her boat perfectly, she has already sailed her in these parts, and she knows where she's going. In sum, Isabelle is very much on top of the situation."

FolGartmoreDeckAir.jpg (23547 bytes) Hall's Gartmore Investment Management

Soldini dropped into third position for now in Class I and Hall was still fifth but already dropped to seventh overall. Josh explained his situation in his message: "The past 48 hours have been rather difficult as a number of problems have conspired to slow us down. On Thursday night I discovered that one of the rudder bearings was leaking badly and that a large amount of water had entered the back end of the boat. The water had soaked one of the pilot arms, shorting out the electric motor in it. I switched to the back up pilot and bailed out furiously, the experience bringing back some bitter memories from the last race. I have managed to seal the leak pretty well but in doing so found that the port rudder had spun around on its quadrant by about 10 degrees. This would act as something of a handbrake on the boat and explained immediately why we had been a bit slow for a day or so - it must have happened in the crash gybe when the forces on the rudder are immense… I had been trying everything to get the boat up to speed. I can straighten it up but only when we are going much slower because it involves unclamping the rudder and moving it before reclamping. If I try it at any speed the rudder could spin right round, perpendicular to the boat and could break - a poorly aligned rudder is better than no rudder! I swapped out the pilot arm so we again have two pilots operational. On Friday morning the wind shifted and we needed to gybe. After the maneuver I glanced up the mast to see that the long car which carries the head of the mainsail up the mast track had blown off. Again the damage was probably initially done in our crash gybe and did not manifest itself till now. So the mainsail had to come down. I carry some spare, shorter cars and have jury-rigged two together to replace the broken one… All this when I want to be pushing hard to regain some lost miles. Instead we have fallen into a different weather pattern than the frontrunners and they are increasing their lead…. I feel really down that we are out of the leading group. I am doing my best but keep getting thwarted by problems. I never expected a trouble-free passage but we seem to have had more than our fair share on this one. Still there is a long way to go and many things can happen still… Josh"

FolMagelanAlphaAir.jpg (20116 bytes) Magelan Alpha
In Class II Mouligne was closing Garside's lead and sailing much faster. Balance Bar, in third, was over 260 miles behind the Class II leader. In fourth, Viktor Yazykov was making a good average speed of over 10 knots. The next boat No Barriers was 675 miles behind Yazykov.

BBDavieSmaller.jpg (23186 bytes) Robin Davie Photo Billy Black

Unfortunate Robin Davie was still in Cape Town. He wrote: "Hi to everyone. South Carolina and I are still in Capetown, and gradually the repair list is getting shorter. At times it feels like 1 step forward and 2 steps back… The leading boats in both classes are now down south and approaching the Kerguelen Islands - so I will be starting from a long way back… Here in Cape Town the mainsail has been up and down a couple of times, it's a used sail modified for the boat, and it's taking a bit of an effort to get it to fit well. The autopilot hydraulics have had a lot of work done to them, are much improved but not quite right yet. The engine and diesel heater, alternators and belts are all up and running and looking good, and in the last day or two before we sail we are completing the final details of rigging, electric wiring and bilge pumps… We are in the process of clearing out the boat so as to restore everything onboard, and packing all the food in their bins… Tomorrow everything should be loaded onboard, so that by Tuesday we will be ready to sail - let's hope for a good wind to speed me south...."

NaklonKompas.jpg (26183 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Autissier

PRB

47 44S

078 04E

4340

15.9

0

2140

2

Thiercelin

Somewhere

46 29S

078 00E

4360

15.9

19.9

2140

3

Soldini

Fila

45 50S

077 27E

4385

13.3

45.3

2140

4

Golding

Team Group 4

47 32S

076 14E

4414

13.4

74.5

2140

5

Hall

Gartmore

45 34S

062 38E

4984

12.1

644.3

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

39 04S

023 42E

6652

3.7

2311.9

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Garside

Magellan Alpha

47 08S

064 24E

4882

10.8

0

2144

2

Moiligne

Cray Valley

45 52S

063 43E

4935

12

53.2

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

46 52S

057 42E

5144

11.2

261.9

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

46 58S

056 29E

5188

10.9

305.6

2144

5

Petersen

No Barriers

44 21S

040 15E

5863

7.9

980.6

2144

6

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

45 29S

037 43E

5922

7

1039.7

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

43 11S

036 13E

6048

6.5

1166.2

2144

8

Stricker

Rapscallion III

37 19S

020 11E

6847

7.2

1964.8

2144

9

Davie

South Carolina

33 54S

018 25E

7042

0

2160

1818

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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