Day 23, Sunday December 27, 1998

SlunceVlna.jpg (11730 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

The most famous sailing race in Southern Hemisphere was always Sydney to Hobart race, running every year during Christmas Holidays. This time a giant storm tore up its whole racing fleet. Winds of nearly 80 knots were reported, a number of boats capsized, and 53 of the 115 boats had retired. There have been six unconfirmed dismastings. Currently, a search was underway for few crewmen missing overboard and one yacht was missing. At the same time that its leaders were approaching New Zealand, Autissier was landing at Tasmania and another part of the Around Alone fleet was approaching the stormy area.

BBFilaStearn.jpg (22393 bytes) Fila Photo Billy Black
The three leading boats, Fila, Team Group 4, and Somewhere suffered most from the storm with head winds of about 50 knots. Autissier was experiencing twelve feet swells, but she arrived at Adventure Bay early morning local time.

BBPRBSail.jpg (20562 bytes) Autissier's PRB Photo Billy Black

Isabelle reported: "Here I was in pitch-black darkness, sailing deep into a bay I wasn't sure I would be able to get out of, if things went wrong. I arrived just as the wind started to rise, when it was blowing 20-25 knots, and I could maneuver. I went to the waypoint we had selected, and stopped. A Zodiac showed up with Pierre-Jean Lemesle, Phil Lee, and two other people, and they came on board. We got the mainsail down as best we could, but it was hard work. Then we took PRB into a little bay that was very sheltered. It was easy to work there. Everything went well. We used what we had on hand. I must say, the track was badly damaged: it had come loose in five different places."

"So we removed part of the lower track and used that to plug the holes. We then jury-rigged a system so that I can reef the sail even though the mainsail slides didn't go all the way down to the foot of the mast. It will work just fine until we get to Auckland… I hadn't slept in more than 48 hours, so I was a bit wiped out. I took an hour's nap, and now I'm fine; I'm starting out in good shape. We still have a little bit of the race to finish and I'm going to try to do it well. The leg isn't over… They have huge leads - two or three days' sailing. Though the weather might help out. They're going to be stuck in a high-pressure system, and with wind on the nose, they aren't going to be moving very fast. So I can count on the high somewhat, but I'll have to be careful not to run into it myself. Don't expect me to make up 200 or 300 miles. If I can pick up 50 or 100, that will be perfect."

Eight and a half-hours later she departed the sheltered waters and went back on the sea. Isabelle could actually benefit from the storm. She was doing 15 knots with strong winds at her back. In the morning she was only 100 miles behind motionless Thiercelin, who got stuck in the middle of the storm. She was 457 miles behind Soldini.

BBCrayValleyDetTop.jpg (23320 bytes) Mouligne's Cray Valley Photo Billy Black
Mouligne, Class II leader, was just turning around Tasmania and pointing toward north point of New Zealand. Garside, in second place, was 357 miles back. He wrote: "JP has continued to pull away from me, but, fortunately, I seem to have kept Brad from closing too much… The engine isolated battery was flat - for some reason it is not holding a charge - and even when I switched the isolator to the emergency setting - using all the batteries together there wasn't enough oomph to fire up the generator. With what should have been a near catastrophe upon me, I was able to couple the little Suzuki generator into the system as it was running. This generated enough clout to turn and then start the main engine. As the amps poured back into the thirsty bank of batteries I just sat and breathed slowly and deeply for a while - wishing my nerves could be as calm as the weather!"

BBNoBarriers.jpg (30822 bytes) Petersen's No Barriers Photo Billy Black

Meanwhile, 2,500 miles back, Petersen was complaining about rough weather: "It is too rough to cook a meal. So for three days now I have not eaten anything decent. I have been living on custard and chocolate. I should have gotten some dried sausage for this occasion."

Slunce.jpg (14471 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

40 48S

163 25E

756

4.7

0

2140

2

Golding

Team Group 4

41 43S

160 15E

905

10.6

148.6

2240

3

Thierceli

Somewhere

40 37S

153 55E

1139

7.4

382.2

2140

4

Autissier

PRB

42 18S

152 55E

1214

11.5

457.5

2140

5

Hall

Gartmore

46 04S

140 45E

1781

8.9

1024.1

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

45 16S

066 25E

4842

6.3

4085.5

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

44 40S

149 35E

1400

12.7

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

44 03S

140 40E

1758

9.4

357.5

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

46 11S

128 33E

2282

0

805.9

1604

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

45 48S

124 43E

2441

9.5

1040.8

2144

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

45 53S

090 10E

3874

7.4

2473.8

2144

6

Petersen

No Barriers

46 59S

088 18E

3939

6.7

2538.5

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

44 18S

081 56E

4234

7.2

2833.6

2144

8

Davie

South Carolina

42 57S

042 31E

5824

10

4423.3

2144

9

Stricker

Rapscallion III

Retired

0

0

0

0

0

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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