Day 10, Monday February 15, 1999

Moredl8.jpg (25391 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

In the morning both of Isabelle Autissier's emergency beacons started sending distress calls. She had EPIRB and GPIRB units on her boat as well as a portable GPIRB in her emergency bag. Autissier's emergency beacon was activated at 1423 Greenwich Mean Time. At the time of the distress signal she was in the middle of Pacific Oceans about 1,900 nautical miles west of Cape Horn. Nothing else was known.

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

The Race Organizators immediately checked communication connection with the whole fleet and received responses from everyone but Autissier. About three hours later race officials contacted Giovanni Soldini, who immediately turned towards Autissier's last known position. Soldini was approximately 200 miles to the northeast at the time.

FolIsaUStezne.jpg (36453 bytes)
Isabelle Autissier

Autissier's shore team in France has notified race officials that Autissier did make very short and disturbed contact earlier this day. She was able to say that she had been "capsized". Her last known position showed her at around 55 south, 127 west, right in the middle of fierce winds and high seas. There was a very intense low at around 60 south, 115 west and another low was farther back at 55 south 145 west. The lows were going to move east and strengthen substantially over the next 24 hours. Winds on the north side of it should have been 40 to 45 knots gusting to as high as 55 knots. Sea could have been over 25 feet.

Not long before the distress signal went on, Isabelle Autissier emailed: "A beautiful morning, with snowy squalls alternating with sunshine, which melted the snow. But this morning, it turned very gray and the wind picked up. I'm waiting for a wind shift to the west to jibe. I sure hope it isn't in the middle of the night, because handling sail then is really cold. This morning I repaired the mainsail; a few inches were torn at the top, probably because of chafe. I struck the sail and stitched it up. I also repaired a batten sail slide; there was a problem with the bearings. Then I steered during the squalls, because the wind is variable, and took naps in between them. Today's a holiday, I changed my clothes... After all the sail handling with the main, I was soaked... Ah, warm clothes! I'm also using the little heater my sister Valerie gave me, to dry my spare pair of boots."

Marc Thiercelin also sent one of his rare messages: "The weekend was fast one, as I broke my own 24-hour speed record by covering 396.5 miles. But this is sailing right on the edge, with a very high level of stress. The ocean here is powerful. The waves are very high and steep, and everything lies under enormous clouds from Antarctica, loaded with hail and snow. The air is glacial, but the sunshine between the squalls magnificent. On Sunday, while I was resting, SOMEWHERE apparently almost went ass over teakettle. She must have started to pitchpole, because all the gear aft--tanks, bags, etc.--flew forward, and ripped the computer loose on the way. Luckily, I have a spare! I came through all right, because it must have been a terrible wave. I had to straighten out the rudders after the mess; that's the second time during this leg. I may pass the waypoint on Tuesday morning, so I can expect to near Cape Horn next Sunday. The waypoint is exactly where Isa and I searched for Gerry Rouf two years ago. It gives me a weird feeling to be going back to the same place. Let's hope the weather is different this time."

Moredl2.jpg (23219 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Thiercelin

Somewhere

54 05S

126 07W

3099

14.1

0

0940

2

Autissier

PRB

55 04S

127 23W

3133

16.4

33.8

0940

3

Soldini

Fila

52 05S

129 05W

3265

14.7

166

0940

4

Hall

Gartmore

Retiring

to

Chatham Is.

0

0

0

Class 2

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Mouligne

Cray Valley

52 13S

146 17W

3824

11.1

0

0944

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

52 57S

147 51W

3863

11.2

39.2

0944

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

50 57S

148 32W

3930

11.5

106.5

0944

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

49 20S

152 50W

4122

11.8

298.1

0944

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

47 51S

169 49W

4749

7.2

925.4

0944

6

Petersen

No Bariers

45 34S

169 06W

4800

6.2

976.4

0944

7

Hunter

Paladin II

44 43s

171 02W

4897

5.3

1072.9

0944

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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