Day 20, Friday December 24, 1998

ZapadVlna.jpg (9432 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

The Tasman Sea became a challenge for the approaching leaders. The wind in the next couple of days was expected to blow from N-NE with a force of up to 45 knots. This condition would force the leaders to sail very close on wind with a lot of spray flying all over their boats.

FolFilaDeckAir.jpg (21513 bytes) Soldini's Fila
Soldini was sailing in a fresh breeze making over 12 knots, while 240 miles back Thiercelin and Golding had been experiencing calm patches, with their speed dropping to five knots. Soldini had a reason to be happy. He wrote: "Hi everybody. First of all, Happy Christmas! My present to myself is being the first to enter the Tasman Sea. Although, it is true that Mike is really getting going. So all quiet and calm, as they say. Well, anyway I am in front...."

NSPRBDock.jpg (16301 bytes) Autissier's PRB Photo Marek Slodownik

Isabelle Autissier was doing very well. She reported: "I am 290 miles from the southwest tip of Tasmania. PRB is sailing under gennaker and double-reefed main in a 15-knot wind. I am making 13 knots, 2 knots less than usual. PRB should be anchored in Adventure Bay by late tomorrow afternoon, so the repairs will be done in darkness. Pierre-Jean and Phil are waiting for me aboard a Fifties. I will go as far into the bay under sail as I can, and then raft up with them… I didn't know that I had made up 100 miles in 24 hours, because my Standard-C isn't working, but that's good news. Anything that lets me cut my lag time to a minimum is welcome, even if I arrive very late. It shows that I'm still in the running. Still, I don't want to get too carried away; I want to keep a cool head."

BBCrayValley.jpg (20326 bytes) Mouligne's Cray Valley Photo Billy Black
In Class II Mouligne had a safe 176-mile gap between him and second placed Garside. He emailed: "I have shaken one reef after another all morning and I am now under full sail for the first time in 4 or 5 days. The seas are still lumpy, there are a few lingering showers and it's not exactly warm, but it's a lot better than it was. The computer puts me some 400 miles ahead of Magellan! That does not make any sense to me but if it was true that would be the best present of all!" In reality JP's lead was only 176 miles, so there was probably something wrong with his computer reading.

At the same time Neal Petersen, who was 2150 miles back behind Mouligne, was getting stronger wind: "It was a ghastly night. The wind freshened and we were reaching and being rolled a bit by the swell, going fast. The night was black with a falling barometer. I lowered the staysail, sailing with a partial genoa and two reefs in the mainsail. I got on the foredeck and it was cold, so I turned on my heater and started to dry out. The warmth lifted my spirits a bit. Then all of a sudden, we crash gybed and we were out of control. I leapt up from sleeping bag to gybe us back and go off surfing again, only afterwards to discover that the control line for the wind vane was broken."

On another hand the last competitor Robin Davie, was experiencing light wind: "With the barometer rising rapidly yesterday afternoon and evening I should have expected the lighter winds of today. The winds fell lighter throughout the night leaving South Carolina rolling like a drunkard this morning to very light airs and a very heavy swell."

DvaRacciLon.jpg (16522 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

 

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

45 43S

155 10E

1222

12

0

1540

2

Golding

Team Group 4

45 57S

147 56E

1494

4.7

272.7

1540

3

Thierceli

Somewhere

45 50S

147 08E

1523

4.4

301

1540

4

Autissier

PRB

43 46S

140 01E

1782

10.6

560.6

1237

5

Hall

Gartmore

48 43S

121 20E

2581

10.3

1359.6

1540

6

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

43 57S

053 35E

5374

6.9

4152.7

1540

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

46 51S

128 14E

2298

10.8

0

1544

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

47 45S

123 59E

2473

10.8

175.5

1544

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

46 07S

112 43E

2939

10.7

641

1544

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

47 10S

109 17E

3084

8.2

786.7

1544

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

46 21S

076 10E

4435

6.9

2137.1

1544

6

Petersen

No Barriers

46 28S

075 58E

4441

7.9

2143.4

1544

7

Hunter

Paladin II

43 52S

071 17E

4678

7.6

2380.6

1544

8

Davie

South Carolina

40 22S

031 41E

6311

8.3

4013.1

1544

9

Stricker

Rapscallion III

Retired

0

0

0

0

0

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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