Day 13, Thursday February 18, 1999

Moredl3.jpg (17466 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Behind the Class II leaders was raging a massive low-pressure system with winds of 35 to 50 knots and gusts up to 60 knots. The low was expected to overtake the leaders within the next 12 hours. A big low measuring 978 millibars covered a huge area. Actually, in the next few days, a second low behind the first could merge with it and create a monster storm with pressure dropping under 960 millibars, which could be lower than the general pressure of a hurricane.

FolMagelanAlphaAir2.jpg (21616 bytes) Garside's Magellan Alpha

The first four boat of Class II were within a distance of about 340 miles. Garside was furthest south, almost at 55 degree south, right in the path of the storm. The overall leader Marc Thiercelin was doing almost 14 knots. He reported that he suffered a split genoa along the foot of the sail. Despite this and his problem with loose boom he recorded a speed of 38 knots, according to the GPS, during surfing on one of the giant waves. He should not have to feel the effect of the approaching storm until Sunday or Monday.

MSCrayValleyStart.jpg (13441 bytes)
Mouligne's Cray Valley Photo Marek Slodownik

Jean-Pierre Mouligne reported: "The barometer is already at 992 millibars and falling rapidly. I have secured everything in the boat and I am trying to get as much rest as possible before the storm hits. I am very close to the only way point of the leg at 55 South by 120 West and will pass about 60 miles to the North of it sometime today. The good news with this new Northwest wind is that it is a lot warmer, the freezing Southwest wind comes from Antarctica and the difference is huge. I seem to have increased my lead a little bit on Mike Garside but it is still a very little one. For now prudence is in order, I need to come out of this storm without breaking anything. There is still a very long way to go..."

FolGarsideSteerinDet.jpg (26234 bytes) Michael Garside

Michael Garside experienced a false alarm. Later he reported: "I seem to be having a bit of a purple patch. I mean, at least nothing major has gone wrong for almost twenty-four hours. That's if you don't count one monster crash gybe that pinned me down for a good half an hour. It happened shortly after I had been diverted by the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Control Center) in Chile to investigate an EPIRB that had gone off some way ahead and south of me. I immediately gybed the boat onto the new course and then plotted the position I had been given. No sooner had I looked at the chart than it became pretty obvious that I was being sent off to investigate one of Isabelle's beacons, and I knew, by that time, she was safely aboard Fila with Giovanni."

"But as everybody knows, it is not up to the master of a ship asked to go on a rescue mission to reject the request of an MRCC just because he suspects it to be a false alarm. So I contacted the Race Operations Centre in Charleston for help. At that stage we got into a bit of a muddle. With emails whanging back and forth, each a little testier than the one before, I failed to notice I had not balanced Magellan Alpha very well when I set off on my errand of mercy. Suddenly and quite violently, I was up-ended from the nav station into the port bunk, hanging on to my laptop for all I was worth. Under the full main and my large genoa this knock-down was a beaut! Only, unlike PRB, Magellan Alpha didn't keep going, but stopped at just over the ninety degree mark. Thankfully."

"Well, eventually everything was sorted out. The mission to rescue Isabelle's abandoned GPIRB was called off and, feathers only slightly ruffled, Alphie and I went on our way, once again in pursuit of J-P and Cray Valley."

Victor Yazykov Photo Marek Slodownik   MSYazykov1.jpg (14793 bytes)

Viktor Yazykov also had his hairy day: "Today was very light wind, sunny day. Our new mainsail is so huge, always scares me to use it with no reef taken at the southern ocean. After the sunset the wind increased. I have just took the third reef, but the boat speed is more than 12 knots. The night is as dark as it could be and raining. Few days ago at night time was little wind but with full mainsail we being making about 8 knots, sudden wind shift made a bad job we had a crash jibe. I have been scared to death. Thought the boat was going to complete capsize. Fortunately it did not happened, but took time to get the mainsail down to the deck."

Also Giovanni Soldini and passenger Isabelle Autissier should have relatively light winds for the next 24- to 36 hours, but over the weekend they should be hit with the storm.

There were miraculous coincidences brought up by the reporters. When Giovanni Soldini saved Isabelle Autissier from her overturned boat, he did so less than 24 miles from the spot where, Bertie Reed rescued John Martin during BOC Challenge in 1991. The timing is was also remarkable. Bertie rescued John only a single calendar day later than Giovani saved Autissier. The first distress call from Autissier arrived at 1423 GMT and call from Soldini that he had rescued Autissier arrived at 1424 GMT, 24 hours later.

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

57 57S

095 24W

2050

13.2

0

2140

2

Soldini

Fila

55 10S

108 02W

2491

14.4

440.8

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

54 01S

121 17W

2944

13

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

54 50S

123 52W

3013

9.7

69.4

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

53 13S

126 06W

3119

9.5

175

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

51 31S

129 58W

3292

10

348.4

2144

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

49 05S

156 09W

4242

8.2

1298.7

2144

6

Petersen

No Bariers

46 22S

157 45W

4383

6.6

1439.4

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

44 51S

161 32w

4565

4

1621.2

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
Return back to Third Leg
Return back to Second Leg
Return back to First Leg
Retyrn back to Sailing Round the World Races
Return back to Seven Oceans