Day 01, Saturday February 02, 1999

SlunceAlbatrosBig.jpg (16427 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first conqueror of Mount Everest, fired the Leg 3 starting cannon. The fleet, which went down into Southern Ocean and then around Caper Horn to Punta del Este, was smaller again. Robin Davie was at least two days away from arriving in Auckland. And Fedor Konioukhov retired from the race a week ago, not making the mandatory 30 January arrival deadline.

Before the start, a group Maoris did a spiritual dance to send the fleet out with good spirits. The skippers participated in one dance in which they placed foreheads and touched noses while holding the Maori hands. That symbolized peace and safety for the fleet.

Light breeze was good for the start except for its direction. Boats had to beat into the wind at least all the way to East Cape, before they would be able to turn south. The high pressure with headwinds was not moving and because of that, the developing tropical storm SE of Samoa would not be moving as well for the next day or two. Then the condition would change.

Class II competitor, J.P. Mouligne, took the lead immediately after the cannon's blast, but he did not hold it for long. About 10 minutes later Giovanni Soldini sailed by him to take his leading role. At the first turning mark, about three miles away, FILA was in first, followed by Mouligne, Autissier, Thiercelin, Garside, Josh Hall, Viktor Yazykov, Brad Van Liew, Neal Petersen, Neil Hunter and Minoru Saito.

About five hours after the start first tragedy occurred. A small plane crashed into the sea near Balance Bar, sailed by Brad Van Liew. The pilot was following the Around Alone fleet. At the time of the incident, the plane was over-flying the FILA with Giovanni Soldini. When Soldini saw the plane crash, he immediately alerted race headquarters. He also radioed the other yachts in the fleet. Van Liew, who was closest to the accident, quickly diverted to the area of the crash but found no trace of the aircraft. He reported only a strong smell of aviation fuel. After filing in a report with Coast Guard personnel, Van Liew was allowed to continue on.

About 35 minutes later Coast Guard vessel discovered two bodies floating on the surface near wreckage from the two-seater Falco aircraft. The pilot was identified as Lucieno Nustrini, a freelance sailing journalist covering Giovanni Soldini for the Italian sailing magazine Fare Vela. The other body was his wife. Except for Van Liew and Soldini, the rest of the fleet was unaffected by the incident.

By the end of the day Thiercelin took the lead in Class I, followed by Soldini and Hall. In Class II the conditions favored Balance Bar, which was followed by Cray Valley and Magellan Alpha.

BezvetriKladka.jpg (23338 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Thiercelin

Somewhere

37 11S

177 17E

5597

5.9

0

2140

2

Soldini

Fila

37 28S

176 58E

5607

8

10.1

2140

3

Hall

Gartmore

37 18S

176 57E

5610

6.2

13

2140

4

Autissier

PRB

37 26S

176 55E

5610

8.6

13.3

2140

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Van Liew

Balance Bar

37 17S

176 54E

5613

6

0

2144

2

Mouligne

Cray Valley

37 29S

176 41E

5621

7.3

8.2

2144

3

Garside

Magellan Alpha

37 32S

176 36E

5625

7.7

12

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

37 03S

176 24E

5639

6.9

26.8

2144

5

Petersen

No Barriers

36 28S

176 11E

5663

2.9

50.7

2144

6

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

36 23S

176 10E

5666

3.6

53.4

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

36 28S

176 02E

5669

5.1

56.3

2144

8

Davie

South Carolina

34 54S

173 59E

To Auckland

     

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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