Day 12, Wednesday february 17, 1999

ParMore.jpg (18149 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

At 2000 GMT, FILA was less than 55 South and 120.5 degrees West. She was heading in WNW direction making about eight knots. Soldini was aware of a strong approaching low-pressure system and was trying to get out of the worst areas as soon as possible. During his phone call he said, "Doing well in good seas. Very light wind here now. But soon there will be lots of wind!"

FolFila.jpg (23256 bytes)  Soldini's Fila

Finally Soldini and Autissier talked from the Southern Ocean and provided a little more information. A huge wave knocked down Isabelle's boat, causing the autopilot to malfunction and the boat to round up and roll over. She described the capsize as being very quick. PRB ended up inverted, with the mast broken and the keel still attached.

FolIsaTvarStez.jpg (19138 bytes)
Isabelle Autissier

Isabelle was very relieved. She said that she was never in doubt that someone would come. "I just didn't realize Giovanni would come so early," she said. Autissier was surprised by how the accident happened. She was sailing in very normal conditions. She had 20-22 knots of wind and was sailing at three-quarters to the wind with one reef in the main and the genoa up. All seemed normal until suddenly the boat was on her side. Isabelle already experienced that; it was quite normal. Normally it was not a big deal, but this time it turned into something very different.

Isabelle was totally surprised. She tried to go into the cockpit but the boat was already more than 90 degrees heeled over, hindering her progress, making it too dangerous. She tried to ease the sails so the boat could come back, but it was too late. The boat rolled over, leaving her only enough time to slam the hatch behind her to prevent water flooding the cabin.

SprayVchoda.jpg (18350 bytes) Photo Richard Konkolski

Stuck in the inverted hull, Isabelle watched as the mast broke into pieces during the next two-hour period. "Of course I'm very sad about my boat. But to be alive is better," she said.

Less than four months ago Soldini had lost his best friend and the co-designer of FILA. Andrea Romanelli was lost during theirs attempt to break the Atlantic speed record, sailing from Sandy Hook off New York to Lizard Point of England. Everything was going well but just 400 miles from the finish they were hit by a huge storm with 80 knots wind and over 50 foot high waves. During the night a huge wave rolled the boat. They lost the mast and Romanelli was also gone.

BBGartmoreBow2.jpg (19228 bytes)
Hall's Gartmore in better days Photo Billy Black

The same day a towboat picked Gartmore Investment Management about 50 miles out and towed her into the Chatham Islands. Josh Hall finally set foot on land again. Hall still could not explain how the dismasting happened. He said it wasn't even during a crash jibe. And prior to leaving Auckland the mast was thoroughly checked. Hall said he couldn't have been more shocked by the mast failure.

Hall is now facing a problem with getting the mast-less boat back to Europe. At the moment he could not get the boat even out of the islands. The next cargo ship is not due in until end of March.

This was Hall's third attempt at The BOC Challenge/Around Alone race. In his first try in 1990-91 he finished in third place in Class II. His second attempt ended by hitting a submerged object and sinking the boat. This third one ended too soon as well.

Bigsea.jpg (22527 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Thiercelin

Somewhere

54 21S

103 37W

2361

16.2

0

2140

2

Soldini

Fila

55 31S

116 08W

2745

14

384

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 33S

128 32W

3190

10.9

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

54 27S

130 02W

3228

11.9

38.2

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

52 38S

132 09W

3332

9.9

141.9

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

50 53S

136 16W

3515

10.2

325.2

2144

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

48 48S

160 41W

4407

8

1217

2144

6

Petersen

No Bariers

46 55S

161 46W

4503

7.4

1312

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

45 12S

164 29W

4654

5.8

1464.5

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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