Day 17, Monday December 21, 1998

VlnaZalam.jpg (27271 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

It was a bad day for almost everybody. There was a "monster" storm building from the west. The wind were expected to go up to 60 knots and more during gusts. The boats were spread out across thousands of miles but no one would be spared. The predicted barometric pressure was to drop to 950 milibars and the storm could look like an Atlantic hurricane.

MSDavie3.jpg (15632 bytes) Robin Davie Photo Marek Slodownik
The first to feel the storm's fury was Robin Davie. After leaving Cape Town two weeks behind the rest of the fleet he was barely drifting with any wind and 24 hours later he was contending with winds from the southwest at 35 knots, sometimes reaching 60 knots.

MSStricker1.jpg (12915 bytes) George Stricker Photo Marek Slodownik

At the same time there came a message from the American competitor George Stricker that he was returning to Cape Town with spar damage. He called race headquarters to inform race officials that he broke the gooseneck during gust of up to 60 knots. Now, with boom separated from his mast, he was giving up the race. He already returned to Cape Town twice. Now the 63-year-old ex-Marine is fighting against 60 knots strong wind to get back to Cape Town.

Isabelle Autissier, who was farthest north and heading into Tasmania for major repairs, would probably have the lightest conditions, but she still could have had winds up to 35 knots. Autissier used a satellite phone to inform race organizators that she was diverting to Adventure Bay on the south coast of Tasmania to rendezvous with her shore crew to do repairs. She arranged it with David Adams, who lives in Sydney. A friend of David's had a trawler there and he would help her. She expected the repair job to take three hours, but getting into the bay would take the most time, because she could not maneuver the boat well. She gave her ETA for Tasmania as Christmas Day.

BBGoldingFace.jpg (15635 bytes) Mike Golding Photo Billy Black
Mike Golding did an unexpected crash jibe and ended on the side. "Last night was all looking good to get past SOMEWHERE at the waypoint; then I go to make a small alteration to the pilot settings and... the pilot failed to re-engage. OK, so I steer by hand to get the boat balanced then make a dash for the changeover switch which is in the nav station. I flick the switch, dive back up just in time to prevent a gybe, grab the helm, press the button, the pilot engages and... bang, throws the boat immediately into a crash gybe."

"Now at 90 degrees with no working pilots I set about taking sails down. The staysail sheet catches in the main halyard and the next thing I see is the winch, complete with the main halyard, flogging around the foredeck with cog springs and all the bits that make the winch work leaping over the side. So now it's dark (isn’t it always), I am in a 60-foot yacht, crash gybed with no working pilots and sails which I can't get down because they are jammed at the mast and need a winch - most of which is on the 4-kilometer journey to the bottom - to free them. Below, the two rudders are at 45 degrees to each other as the tiller bars slipped, one pilot ram is broken, both pilot rudder reference units - without which the pilots won't work - have been ripped from their mountings. What a mess, I spend literally all night fixing and clearing up, all the time trying to aim the boat in the right direction and find this morning I am in second slot - crazy."

BBTeamGroupBow.jpg (19814 bytes) Golding's team Group 4 Photo Billy Black

Class II Mouligne gained another 20 miles on Garside. "I have changed charts. I am no longer on that endless white sheet of ocean with a tiny piece of Australia at the end. My new chart shows Australia, Tasmania and... NEW ZEALAND, the promised land! I am now heading northeast to pass the race waypoint at about 46 South by 115/120 east, then I will aim at the south end of Tasmania and straight up toward Cape Reinga, the northern tip of New Zealand. Auckland is on the East Coast about 180 miles South of Cape Reinga (also called North Cape). Looking at it this way, I feel that I am almost there: what's 3,000 miles!"

BBShutenDohjiNarrow.jpg (26467 bytes) Saito's Shuten-dohji II Photo Billy Black

It was a great day for Saito who got in front of Petersen by 30 miles.

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

44 54S

133 37E

2063

   

2140

2

Golding

Team Group 4

47 34S

131 46E

2160

   

2140

3

Thiercelin

Somewhere

46 58S

130 44E

2196

   

2140

4

Autissier

PRB

42 10S

122 34E

2544

   

2048

5

Hall

Gartmore

46 05S

106 09E

3208

   

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

44 43S

042 33E

5767

   

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

45 54S

110 44E

3022

11.9

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

45 56S

107 45E

3145

11.8

122.4

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

47 06S

097 05E

3582

10.1

559.8

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

47 57S

096 10E

3616

8.2

593.8

2144

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

48 04S

066 06E

4799

7.7

1776.8

2144

6

Petersen

No Barriers

46 26S

066 11E

4827

4.8

1805

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

44 50S

061 09E

5059

6.3

2036.2

2144

8

Stricker

Rapscallion III

45 34S

034 30E

6038

5.5

3015.7

2144

9

Davie

South Carolina

37 40S

022 00E

6766

6.9

3744.1

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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