Day 11, Tuesday February 16, 1999

Moredl9.jpg (11858 bytes)
The Southern Ocean Photo Richard Konkolski

Giovanni Soldini was able to send a short message: "Hello, this is FILA. I have Isa inboard with me. Isa and I are going back to the race. Gio." It was brief but very reliving message for everybody. But last 24 hours were not easy for anybody involved in the race.

BBSoldini copy.jpg (17867 bytes) Giovanni Soldini Photo Billy Black

At 03:16:36 the headquarters received last position from Isabelle. She did an uncontrolled jibe. The boat went over and the mast went underwater. At 120 degrees the mast broke and the boat failed to right itself due to the submerged sails and rigging. But nobody knew about the accident. Isabelle was able to make only a very short contact with her team. The conversation lasted only a few seconds and indicated that she capsized but was safe and sound. Less than four minutes later Autissier activated her GPIRB and her Argos alarm system. The ARGOS beacon, which stopped sending signals, was sending out a distress signal again. This indicated that the sailor was still safe. Soldini was about 200 miles to the northeast of Isabelle at the time and only minutes later Soldini was sailing at 14 to 15 knots in 35 knot winds towards her.

At 03:50:48 Soldini reported that he is sailing in heavy seas with wave heights exceeding 12 meters. He was averaging over 17 knots earlier, but slowed down as he was getting further South. About fifty-two minutes later Soldini reported that he was 56 miles from Autissier`s position and has slowed to 8 knots. The sun should have set in the search area and it would be dark by the time Soldini reached her position.

BBFilaStearn.jpg (22393 bytes)  Giovanni's Fila Photo Billy Black

While still over 25 miles from Autissier's position, Soldini switched on his radar and was looking for any sign of PRB. He had a large radar with a range of 36 nautical miles but he could not see anything at that time.

Than the wind shifted and Soldini had to tack. This significantly delayed his arrival at Autissier`s position. Few hours later, at 11:24, Soldini was within 20miles of Isabelle's position and the wind fortunately dropped down to 25 knots. It was almost 20 hours since the first distress call was received from Autissier. Clear signals was still being received from Autissier`s GPIRB and ARGOS units.

Soldini's Fila  FolFilaDeckAir.jpg (21513 bytes)

About two and half hours later, at 13:43:50 Soldini reached within the search area. It was dark. About 10 minutes later Soldini reported: "I am here. Starting search now." He could not find Autissier at the spot where she should be by the GPIRB signal. Than he turned north and found the upturned hull two miles away.

Soldini did two passes along the hull and saw no sign of Autissier. On the third pass he threw a hammer against her the hull and Isabelle finally got out from below where she was sleeping. She exited by the transom hatch.

FolPRBOdZadeNaklon.jpg (29740 bytes) Autissier's PRB

An hour later Soldini reported to Isabelle's shore crew in France: "Isabelle is safe and sound and on board Fila. All goes well and I am going to have a lovely cruise with Isa." At 19:55:54 FILA was back in the race heading east towards Cape Horn. Soldini was now 284 miles behind the leader, Thiercelin.

Isabelle later sent a telex from the Fila: "Well, here I am being a tourist in Italy... I'm not unhappy, the boat returned in a moderate wind of 20 knots (35 km/h) following an error in the autopilot, starting with the knockdown. Normally one would sleep after this, but I'm recovering nicely. The boat [PRB] took off right away at more than 90 degrees and I was no longer able to go into the cockpit. It then overturned very quickly. I only had time enough to close the door."

FolPRBDeck.jpg (34432 bytes)
Autissier's PRB

This was the second time that Autissier boat capsized during this race. Four years ago she had to be rescued from the Southern Ocean in Leg 2 by the Australian Navy.

The bad weather was still not over. The weather forecast predicted advancing storm with winds of 40 to 60 knots and 25 to 30 foot seas. That could be the most severe weather of Leg 3.

On the other hand, Neil Hunter, Minoru Saito and Neal Petersen had been trapped in the center of a high-pressure system. At the same time Josh Hall reached Chatham Islands with his boat dismasted three days ago.

Bvaracci.jpg (15273 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Thiercelin

Somewhere

53 31S

115 53W

2783

12.1

0

2140

2

Soldini

Fila

55 04S

125 27W

3067

7.6

284.4

2140

3

Autissier

PRB

Rescued

by

Soldini

0

0

0

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

53 30S

136 59W

3479

11.5

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

53 53S

138 23W

3522

11.4

42.5

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

51 58S

140 10W

3619

10.6

139.8

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

5002S

143 53W

3795

11.7

315.8

2144

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

48 53S

166 19W

4597

5.1

1118.1

2144

6

Petersen

No Bariers

46 37S

166 02W

4659

4.7

1180

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

45 21S

168 10W

4775

4.3

1295

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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