Day 29, Saturday January 2, 1998

The morning when Golding hit the sandbar, a helicopter crew was taking pictures of his boat and saw him lowering the headsail. Only minutes later, Race Director Mark Schrader called informing them about the disaster. As the helicopter returned, the crew reported that the water was about knee-deep inside the main compartment. The forward and after watertight compartments were dry. They learned that Golding's plan was to try to sail down the coast to the finish in Auckland.

MSGolding2.jpg (13466 bytes) Mike Golding Photo Marek Slodownik
About two hours later Golding accepted a short tow from a fishing boat and anchored at Tom Bowling Bay near North Cape. Because the tow was less than 10 miles, Golding was still in the race. Later, a helicopter deposited Golding's shore crew along with the boat designer Pascal Conq on the scene. The crew was assessing the damage with hopes of quick repairs so that the boat could continue on to Auckland.

FolSodiniOnDeck.jpg (24861 bytes) Giovanni Soldini

In the early dawn, Giovanni Soldini to his great surprise found himself toe-to-toe to a shirtless local Maori leader but with enough presence to lean forward and rub noses in a traditional New Zealand greeting of friendship. He was just able to say: "It's nice to meet you." Only one hour earlier, at 4:24 a.m. local time (1524 Greenwich Mean Time on 1st of January), Soldini crossed the finish line under reefed main and a staysail.

Thiercelin and Autissier were expected to finish within the next 10 to 15 hours, and Mouligne within 20. Then came a message from Isabelle Autissier, who also had a collision: "After my problem with the keel, the broken sail track, and the stopover in Tasmania, I was finally happy this morning to have managed to pass Marc. And then I had another disaster this morning when the whale hit my rudder. It's just unbelievable! The Indian Ocean really has been true to its reputation of having it in for me. The collision will handicap me a little, but it's mainly hard to take psychologically."

MSMouligne3.jpg (13256 bytes) J.P.Mouligne Photo Marek Slodownik

Class 2 leader Jean-Pierre Mouligne, who already passed Golding, reported: "I first saw land about 3 hours ago when Cape Reinga slowly appeared to emerge from the ocean. I am now following the coastline off the northern tip of New Zealand and getting ready to harden up into the wind toward Auckland. The Cape North is spectacular and looks like a scene from Jurassic Park... It is the very place where the unfortunate Mike Golding hit a rock just 24 hours ago and I am being super careful in giving this beautiful Cape a wide berth. Unfortunately the wind is straight from the southeast and it looks like a very long beat all the way to the finish about 180 miles away."

FolGarsideSteerin2.jpg (34331 bytes) Michael Garside
Michael Garside who was almost 650 miles behind JP expressed unhappiness on how the disasters were handled by the organizators: "On neither incident have we any official information from the race organizers. It drives me crazy with frustration and continues to be my one and only criticism of the Around Alone race team. Why, oh why don't they tell us what is going on when something has happened to another competitor? It would be so simple for the duty watch-keeper in the Race Operations Center to be responsible for putting out regular one-liner updates if anything untoward happens to another competitor. Instead we have to rely on our personal supporters to keep us informed of events from news and website reports which they email back to us. It's bloody silly, in my opinion."

Pena.jpg (25143 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

36 46S

174 48E

0

0

0

Auckland

2

Thierceli

Somewhere

35 49S

174 45E

58

4.8

57.7

2140

3

Autissier

PRB

35 29S

174 41E

78

4.1

77.7

2144

4

Golding

Team Group 4

34 59S

173 31E

125

0.1

124.6

2037

5

Hall

Gartmore

39 23S

162 51E

731

4.3

731.3

2140

6

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

45 38S

089 23E

3908

6.2

3908.3

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

34 59S

174 27E

109

5.4

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

39 41S

162 26E

757

6.9

648.2

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

40 23S

158 22E

943

8.7

834.3

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

43 44S

150 09E

1358

3.1

1249.1

2041

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

45 57S

113 13E

2919

6.3

2810.9

2144

6

Petersen

No Barriers

45 54S

109 53E

3058

6.9

2949.1

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

45 08S

103 08E

3344

5.5

3235.9

2144

8

Davie

South Carolina

50 03S

064 24E

4830

9

4721.1

2144

9

Stricker

Rapscallion III

Retired

0

0

0

0

0

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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