Day 14, Friday December 18, 1998

Previous night Autissier explained why she started heading north. "My mainsail track is broken at the level of the first spreaders. I can neither raise nor lower my main, which is double-reefed. Since my most recent information from two days ago warned of 50-knot winds, I felt it was too dangerous for me to continue sailing in the south under those conditions. I am therefore heading up to 43 S."

FolIsabellePoklop.jpg (20276 bytes) Isdabelle Autissier
During the radio conversation, Autissier also mentioned she had given up any hope of repairing her Standard-C satellite antenna that was smashed by her boom during a jibe. Her move northward had already cost about 200 miles. This gap on Soldini could widen even more. Isabelle had to sail a longer course and she would not be able to unreef her main in light wind condition.

Isabelle had a meter of spare track on board, but the painstaking repair job would require very calm weather conditions. She might be able to repair the damaged track herself later. For now, Isabelle should have a decent following wind at her present latitude.

FolFilaAir.jpg (21610 bytes) Soldini's Fila
The fleet was led by Soldini with Thiercelin, 67 miles back, in second place. Marc Thiercelin was able to send one of his rare emails: "Everything is all right. We have a snow and big wind. Sometime it is very cold and yesterday all a day I have a big problem with a lot of seaweed on my keel and my velocity very down during last 68 hours. And little by little with a rope I try and now it is correct I have seaweed but no many."

FolGartmoreBow.jpg (16487 bytes)
Josh Hall's Gartmore

Josh Hall over 900 miles back had a bad day. During a gybe his gennaker starts unrolling and he discovered trouble with rigging. He had to drop down the sail, but part of the sail went overboard during a strong gust of wind. It took him over one hour to recover the wet and cold sail and get it down below the deck. He settled his boat on course and unrolled the smaller headsail, which in the strong wind was just right.

MSCrayValDoc2.jpg (17829 bytes) Mouligne's Cray Valley Photo Marek Slodownik
Jean-Pierre Mouligne established himself as the head of Second Class with 38 miles lead on Garside. He wrote: "I just checked my log and realized that I have done 60 miles in 4 hours and 15 minutes, more than 14.5 knots average speed. Its a scary ride, Cray Valley accelerates on top of the waves so fast that it sometimes catches the next one and buries itself all the way to the mast. It's like hitting the brakes at full speed. This is not an area made for human beings, and I will be happy to get out of it."

Michael Garside, now in second place, expressed his feelings: "It's a wild, wet ride, and cold. I'm having to economize on my heating now - I'm using 10 liters a day to run the charging engine and the wonderful little heater that has kept the cabin and my foul weather gear so dry. The following seas are building with a wind that is blowing between 27 and 34 knots and Alphie is surging forward from 12 knots to 24 in the space of a few yards. It's spectacular but a little frightening at times. JP took eleven miles off me last night. I expected he would, as he seems to sail deeper than I do. I am on the right of the fleet and a gybe to port gave him an advantage as we changed course to head towards the next waypoint to our north. I'm prepared to let him sit in front for a while but he's going to have to push Cray Valley hard to stay there."

In the meantime, almost 1,500 miles back, Neal Petersen had completely different weather conditions. He wrote: "The sunset was spectacular this evening after a little front passed by. It was so red. I filmed it both on video and digital still picture. The wind finally shifted into the SW and I am heading SE. I am going down another degree or so as the barometer is rising."

 Bvaracci.jpg (15273 bytes)
Photo RichardKonkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

48 59S

110 49E

3050

14.7

0

2140

2

Thiercelin

Somewher

47 46S

108 35E

3117

13.3

66.8

2140

3

Golding

Team Group 4

48 03S

107 47E

3151

13

101

2140

4

Autissier

PRB

44 40S

103 01E

3357

12

229.5

1353

5

Hall

Gartmore

46 33S

087 53E

3960

13.2

909.9

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

41 10S

033 45E

6207

2.6

3156.2

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

49 00S

090 28E

3840

13.3

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

48 21S

089 35E

3878

12.2

37.6

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

48 25S

079 51E

4261

10.6

421.5

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

47 49S

079 09E

4296

12.2

456

2144

5

Petersen

No Barriers

44 30S

055 38E

5281

7.6

1441.5

2144

6

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

47 27S

052 30E

5324

7.5

1484.4

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

44 40S

050 49E

5461

6.1

1620.8

2144

8

Stricker

Rapscallion III

41 54S

028 12E

6386

6.5

2545.9

2144

9

Davie

South Carolina

33 54S

018 25E

7047

0

3207

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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