Day 12, Wednesday December 16, 1998

Isabelle Autissier called race officials by SSB radio and informed them that her Standard-C antenna is broken. Her last report via COMSAT was yesterday evening. Since that time, she was tracked only by ARGOS back-up transmitter, installed on each yacht. This system was used in all previous solo around races and has a separate antenna.

FolIsaStezenWinch.jpg (33725 bytes) Isabele Autissier
Peter Dunning noted that Autissier had regularly punched a manual button on the ARGOS instruments, letting officials to know that she is still on board. Autissier's radio transmission through Monaco Coastal Radio Station cleared the problems: "My Trimble antenna" -- the brand of the Standard-C antenna provided by COMSAT -- "was torn off during a jibe," Autissier radioed. "So I can't receive messages, weather reports from the [race] organization, or other competitors' positions. I have a spare Standard-C, but there is a problem with it, too. This is the reason I have headed north in latitude, because I didn't want to be far to the south without any means of communicating or getting weather information. Otherwise, everything is going well. PRB is making 15 knots in a 25-knot wind from the west."

FolHallTvar.jpg (24840 bytes) Josh Hall
The rest of the Class I fleet continued to hold the Great Circle course to the next waypoint. Josh Hall was able to straighten some of his problems: "I am doing my best to claw some miles back. It's hard, though, because we are in a different weather pattern now and getting around the Kerguelen waypoint was really difficult. By heading north to sort out the rudder and mast problem in lighter conditions, I ended up with a directly downwind course to the waypoint. We can't go directly downwind but have to keep gybing and that meant extra miles - boy in this game when you get stuffed you really get stuffed! Still we passed the waypoint in the early hours this morning and can finally head to the southeast where there is some more favorable wind direction. I managed to straighten the rudder out to within a few degrees of where it should be so she is steering better and sailing faster now - I wouldn't want to have to repeat that little exercise, felt like I needed another 3 pairs of hands at least!"

FolGarsideSteerinDe2.jpg (22525 bytes) Michael Garside

Meanwhile Garside rounded the waypoint and happily emailed: "Passing waypoint was good. I celebrated with a tot of whisky and a chocolate cookie bought in Charleston. Then dived south. J-P has been gnawing away at my lead. It had to happen. As we headed away from the south, where Alphie and I are at our best, the winds got lighter and the need for sailing skill increased. I didn't feel I was performing at all well. But, thankfully, as we descend deeper into the Southern Ocean, the barometer is falling once again. Even more than a twitcher, I need a strong westerly wind - right now."

Soon Jean-Pierre passed the point as well and turned his boat to south-southeast on a closer course to Auckland. "Cray Valley is going fast", he wrote, "surfing down straight as an arrow. Sometimes we go so fast that we catch the wave in front, the bow buries itself and a wall of water comes tumbling on the deck. I have to stay vigilant and careful; we are not even halfway and I cannot afford to break anything at this point."

MSHunter5.jpg (16428 bytes) Neil Hunter Photo Marek Slodownik
At the same time Neil Hunter was experiencing light conditions: "No dramas and pretty calm, mild conditions. Wind really hasn’t changed much and with the barometer stopping its drop I am sort of wondering what has happened to the approaching front. Forecast still has it coming but may be another day away. Saw a second Royal Albatross yesterday, a magnificent huge bird that approached and settled in the water about 10 feet from the yacht to have a good close sqizz. Pity I have no more squid to feed them."

Bigracek.jpg (16357 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Autissier

PRB

48 14S

093 09E

3736

13.6

0

2106

2

Thiercelin

Somewhere

48 17S

093 07E

3737

13.5

1

2140

3

Soldini

Fila

48 48S

092 47E

3749

13.9

13

2140

4

Golding

Team Group 4

49 09S

090 56E

3821

14

84.9

2140

5

Hall

Gartmore

47 06S

074 16E

4498

13.1

762

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

39 45S

026 53E

6509

8.7

2772.8

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

48 18S

075 46E

4422

12.3

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

48 31S

075 41E

4423

12.9

0.2

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

45 42S

069 49E

4699

9.3

276.8

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

46 11S

068 20E

4748

8.3

325.7

2144

5

Petersen

No Barriers

44 21S

047 43E

5586

6.8

1164.1

2144

6

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

47 06S

044 11E

5640

9.1

1217.2

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

44 09S

043 35E

5747

8

1324.5

2144

8

Stricker

Rapscallion III

39 28S

024 03E

6625

4.5

2202.4

2144

9

Davie

South Carolina

33 54S

018 25E

7042

0

2620

1818

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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