Day 30, Sunday January 3, 1999

BBStricker.jpg (21768 bytes)
George Stricker Photo Billy Black

It was a really busy day. First came the news that American George Stricker finally reached Cape Town. Stricker had retired from the race twelve days ago with rig damage and had a difficult return back to South Africa.

MSGoldingTvar.jpg (9790 bytes) Mike Golding Photo Marek Slodownik

Then Mike Golding officially withdrew from Leg 2. He suffered extensive damage to the keel and hull when he struck sandbank off Cape Reinga two days ago. His second tow from Bowling Bay to safer Mangonui Harbor yesterday was longer than the allowed 10 miles limit. If Golding and his crew had been able to repair the damage, he would be able to continue racing for the last two legs of the event. However he would be not eligible for any overall prize in the race. The boat is to be towed the 150-mile distance from Mangonui to Auckland tomorrow.

BBThiercelin.jpg (23340 bytes) Marc Thiercelin Photo Billy Black
By morning, Thiercelin was 58 miles from the finish line and Autissier was another 20 miles astern. As the sun set over the Auckland, Somewhere crossed the finish line. After tough 28 days, 20 hours, 42 minutes and 00 seconds Marc Thiercelin finished in second place for Leg 2.

The most frightening thing for him was the boat's acceleration during Leg 2 sailing. "The boat constantly accelerates and takes off in the waves, which keeps me in a state of stressful watchfulness and wears on my nerves," he said. Then he continued: "Being on Somewhere at this speed is very hard, because the boat literally takes off and is always surfing between 18 and 24 knots. You have to be ready for anything, and it's impossible to read, write or rest properly. It's very stressful, because you never know whether the boat isn't going to turn over in the next minute."

BBAustissierFace.jpg (15523 bytes)
Isabelle Autissier Photo Billy Black

One hour later, just after sunset, Isabelle Autissier sailed across the finish line in Auckland. She finished third in Leg 2, but become the overall leader in the race. She spent 28 days, 21 hours, 53 minutes and 24 seconds at sea. After her stop in Tasmania for repair, she made remarkable recovery and closed on Thiercelin. Then Thiercelin had to stop for two hours to repair damage after hitting something underwater, but he was soon back in the race and closing the gap.

Isabelle was not spared in the quick turn of events. She hit a whale: "I was outside and I had a big shock," she said. "I could see a big whale, I could see the animal at the surface." When she inspected the boat for damage, she discovered that her one rudder was gone and she sailed the final miles with an emergency rudder.

BBPRBSail.jpg (20562 bytes) Autissier's PRB Photo Billy Black
Autissier now leads the race. Her elapsed time for both legs was 63 days, 19 hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds. She was in front of Thiercelin by 5 hours, 57 minutes and 5 seconds. Thiercelin's elapsed time was 64 days, 01 hours, 27 minutes, and 14 seconds including a 4 hour, 4 minute, 4 second time penalty. Giovanni Soldini was in third place with elapsed time of 64 days, 19 hours, 39 minutes and 34 seconds, full 24 hours, 10 minutes and 9 seconds behind the leading Autissier.

MFMouligneFace2.jpg (15538 bytes)
Jean-Pierre Mouligne Photo Marek Slodownik

At dawn J.P. Mouligne tacked toward the finish line and at 8:49 a.m. local time (19.49.37 GMT) he took first place in Class 2. It took him 29 days, 9 hours, 49 minutes and 37 seconds to finish the tough Indian Ocean leg. Remarkably he came only 12 hours behind the Class I boats sailed by Marc Thiercelin and Isabelle Autissier.

BBMouligne.jpg (21493 bytes) J.P.Mouligne Photo Billy Black
In the final two weeks, Mouligne closed a gap of 1,000 miles on the race leaders and was able to keep close to them right up to the finish. At one point, six hundred miles from the finish, he was even one mile ahead of Isabelle. Mouligne never thought he could beat Isabelle or Marc, but he felt great after just getting so close to them. He got a couple of lucky breaks in the Tasman Sea.

About 25 miles from finish he emailed: "I was hoping to be in bed by now but the wind has been extremely light and I am moving at a snail's pace toward the finish line. I have 25 miles to go and I am counting each one of them. I am tired but I managed to get a few very short naps 10 to 15 minutes at a time this afternoon. The approach to Auckland is not very easy. There are hundred of islands on the way and few are lit at night. The shore line is spectacular and does not appear to be built at all. The islands have funny names like "Rangitoto," "Motutapu," and "Mokohinau," and are only inhabited by colonies of sea birds. I was greeted by dolphins this afternoon but they did not stay long; they like to follow you and play with the bow when the boat goes fast. They were probably disappointed to see such a big fish moving so slowly...!"

FolGarsideSteerinDet.jpg (26234 bytes) Michael Garside
Early this morning, second placed Garside was still over 700 miles from Auckland. He wrote: "Right now I am trying to head NE to Cape Reinga. Such wind as there is is coming from the NE. I can sail ESE into the high or NNW into a ridge extending from the high towards Australia. My options are limited in the extreme."

ParMore.jpg (18149 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

Auckland

0

0

0

0

0

2

Thierceli

Somewhere

Auckland

0

0

0

0

0

3

Autissier

PRB

Auckland

0

0

0

0

0

4

Hall

Gartmore

39 25S

165 35E

627

3.7

627.3

2140

5

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

46 09S

093 26E

3737

6.7

3737.3

2140

6

Golding

Team Group 4

Retired

Auckland

0

0

0

0

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

Auckland

0

0

0

0

0

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

38 54S

164 24E

654

3.6

654.4

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

39 10S

161 46E

770

4.1

770.4

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

42 18S

153 46E

1178

12

1178.4

2153

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

46 02S

117 02E

2761

6.3

2760.8

2144

6

Petersen

No Barriers

46 06S

113 30E

2907

4.4

2906.5

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

45 34S

107 01E

3179

6.3

3178.7

2144

8

Davie

South Carolina

50 41S

069 59E

4613

9.3

4613.2

2144

9

Stricker

Rapscallion III

Retired

0

0

0

0

0

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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