Day 51, Sunday January 24, 1999

SprayVchoda.jpg (18350 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Unfavorable headwind drastically slowed down Minoru Saito. By the end of the day he was only 143 miles from the finish but his speed dropped down to 3.4 knots. With such a speed it could have taken him another two days to finish. At least he had Cape Rienga behind his stern.

BBShutenDohjiII.jpg (27737 bytes) Saito's Shuten-dohji II Photo Billy Black

Thirty one miles behind him was Neal Petersen doing about 5 knots and catching on. As he passed Cape Rienga, he kept sailing straight on tack off the coast. His email expressed his frustration with strong headwind: "It has been living hell. I am less than 230 miles from Auckland, but unable to close the gap because of severe weather. Tropical storms are whipping up the seas. Today the winds were SE between 30 and 40 knots, coming directly from Auckland. The seas are a mess. I feel like a ping pong ball being bounced around by an idle hand. It is too rough to cook. I am hungry and very frustrated. This is my 49th day at sea, and what should be 2 days is more likely 3 or 4 days with this weather. I saw land briefly as I got swept past, unable to tack SE yet. It is hard just sitting wedged, trying to write without being airborne as we crash over the crests."

BBPaladinII.jpg (23070 bytes) Hunter's Paladin II Photo Billy Black

Farther back was Neil Hunter doing over 6 knots. For now he was able to hold direct course for the Cape. Hopefully the wind would change direction at his arrival there. He was still 357 miles from Auckland.

Class I skipper Fedor Konioukhov was less than 250 miles behind Hunter. He was further north but he should be having the same conditions as Neil. Unfortunately he slowed down considerably, to 2.6 knots. He still had 604 miles to go.

Robin Davie who was tailing the remaining fleet just passed the Tasmania and had 1479 miles to go with only 6 days left. Definitively he was not expected to make the 30th of January deadline in order to be allowed to continue the race. He had little wind as he described it in his email: "We have drifted slowly, and sailed to light airs slowly, and we have watched the wind generator go around slowly - or not at all - it's been another 24 hours of summer sunshine cruising and drifting and dreaming… Generally we have tried to drift and sail northeastwards to clear Tasmania, but to keep the boat moving a course closer to the west to northwest light winds and airs has meant a more northerly course, so today right on bow are the higher hills and mountains of Southern Tasmania visible on the horizon… If the final 1,000 miles into Cape Town on Leg 1 without a rudder was a challenge, then this final 1,500 miles into Auckland on Leg 2 is proving to be every bit as tough, slow and at present frustrating."

Moredl7.jpg (15393 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

Auckland

0

0

0

0

0

5

Konioukhov

Mod.Univ.Human.

35 10S

164 00E

604

2.6

604.4

1901

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

Auckland

0

0

0

0

0

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

Auckland

0

0

0

0

0

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

Auckland

0

0

0

0

0

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

34 29S

174 00E

143

3.4

142.5

2144

6

Petersen

No Barriers

34 01S

173 42E

174

5

174

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

34 49S

169 01E

357

6.1

356.7

2144

8

Davie

South Carolina

43 55S

147 16E

1479

2.4

1479

2056

9

Stricker

Rapscallion III

Retired

0

0

0

0

0

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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