Day 19, Wednesday December 23, 1998

By the end of the day Soldini was 95 miles in front of Golding and 178 miles ahead of Thiercelin. Isabelle dropped back over 500 miles. She wrote: "I am steering 110 degrees, pretty much straight for southern Tasmania. With a little luck, I won't have to jibe again. A heavy 9-foot swell is running, and I didn't sleep much last night. Theoretically, as we pass Tasmania, the wind shouldn't be more than 30 knots. It'll be okay..."

MSKonioukhov1Det.jpg (10791 bytes) Fedor Konioukhov Photo Marek Slodownik
Fedor Konioukhov had much harder conditions with 5,600 miles to go. He reported: "I have wind up to 50 knots and waves to the 2nd spreader (my mast is 24 meters), so I presume that my waves up to 17 meters, it seems to me. This is huge Mountains of water, the wide is 150 meters. I am not quite sure of my calculation but I am really scared and tired. I had a snowfall for the recent days. I am diving down South, but I prefer to stay at 45 south."

It looked like Jean-Pierre Mouligne was in the best condition with the advantage of 152 miles over second placed Garside in Class II. His email was very optimistic: "After a very rough 24 hours of gale-force winds, things have calmed down a bit and I was able to clean up and rest. The next one storm is on its way and the wind has been picking up all morning. It looks as if we are in for a string of low-pressure systems that will pass in rapid succession until at least after the 25th. For me it's not going to be a white Christmas but a wet one! Cray Valley is handling the challenge beautifully and so far I have had no damage whatsoever. I have had little time to think about Christmas. School class in Michigan has asked what I am planning for Christmas dinner. I do not think that it is going to be anything exotic... I have no fresh food to cook anymore; I used my last onions and potatoes a few days ago. So it is going to be the usual ready- to-boil, pre-packaged dinner that I have "enjoyed" since Charleston. I have however a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau given to me by the French consul in Cape Town and that I have kept for the event. I will try to drink it slowly while going in the right direction...! I could be drinking champagne and eating fine food instead of being tossed around in wet boots somewhere South of Australia...but do not feel sorry for me. Nobody has forced me to do this, and arriving in Auckland will be that much sweeter..."

BBMagelanAlphaStearn.jpg (28476 bytes) Magellan Alpha Photo Billy Black
In the meantime, Mike Garside experienced another bad gybe: "I was dozing warmly in my bunk when a small wind shift was sufficient to lead to a really ugly gybe, the result of which was the most spectacular knockdown I have experienced. Once pinned onto the water, with both sails backed, I had to get dressed and clamber out onto the side of the cockpit. Then I had to tackle the slow but methodical process of changing running backstays, moving the keel, furling the headsail and so on before Alphie was back on her feet and I could gybe back onto our original course and continue on our way -- with my heart pounding. It didn't stop pounding when I came to try and fire up the engine to charge the batteries. Normally, the beast roars into life at the first press of the ignition switch. Not so this time. It had been running at the time of the knockdown and my first action on falling out of my bunk had been to shut down. But I guess air and fuel had got tangled in its pipes somewhere. What was really worrying was that the engine's own isolated battery gave the engine enough power for a couple of turns and then was dead. My heart had pretty well sunk at that stage. No engine, no electricity, effectively out of the race. With fingers crossed I switched over to the ship's domestic batteries and tried again. After a dozen endlessly agonising revolutions there was a sluggish ignition and suddenly full power. I breathed deeply and slowly. Again, we were back in business. I don't need too many days like today. Now that George Stricker is heading back to Cape Town for a third time to call it a day, other than tough old Minoru, I'm the oldest hand in the fleet. And, right now, I feel every one of my fifty-four years."

MSDavie1.jpg (14699 bytes) Robin Davie Photo Marek Slodownik
Robin Davie who was closing on the fleet got some relief: "A quiet night has seen the weather moderate and swing more southerly as the days progressed. Its still pretty brisk, 20 to 25 knots, and noticeably cooler now its coming out of the south. Our speed has been very variable - exciting at times as we surf along with the swells at 12 to 14 knots, and somewhat disconcerting for periods of time when despite logging away at a good 9 to 10 knots, the GPS reading has been stuck on 5 to 7 knots. The GPS doesn't lie - and the slow speed is a reflection of the strong currents that we have been experiencing yesterday and today to the south of the Agulhas Bank."

Moredl8.jpg (25391 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

 

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

45 49S

149 50E

1419

11.5

0

2140

2

Golding

Team Group 4

46 09S

145 59E

1574

5

155.2

2240

3

Thierceli

Somewhere

45 38S

144 50E

1609

7.6

190

2140

4

Autissier

PRB

43 40S

135 25E

1980

11.8

561.3

2140

5

Hall

Gartmore

47 56S

117 04E

2751

10

1332.7

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

43 36S

051 23E

5469

3.5

4050.5

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

43 35S

123 56E

2474

12.3

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

46 51S

119 08E

2671

10.8

197.1

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

45 51S

108 18E

3123

9.9

649.3

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

47 26S

105 25E

3242

9.4

768.6

2144

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

46 35S

073 22E

4542

8.7

2068.1

2144

6

Petersen

No Barriers

46 35S

072 47E

4565

8.1

2091.6

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

45 04S

068 40E

4757

8.1

2283.2

2144

8

Davie

South Carolina

39 12S

028 35E

6467

9.2

3993.2

2144

9

Stricker

Rapscallion III

Retired

0

0

0

0

0

Copyright Richard Konkolski
Return back to Second Leg
Return back to First Leg