Day 19, Wednesday February 24, 1999

006.jpg (20495 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Thiercelin continued to hold the lead on Soldini by 131 miles. The last two men in Class I were experiencing adverse northerly winds and had been forced to tack towards the coast of Argentina. Their sailing changed into some kind of dinghy racing in which each skipper was following and covering the other one. The downwind sailing of Southern Ocean was over for both. The coming new weather system could bring even stronger northerly winds, making racing more challenging.

The stormy conditions of the last four days passed over the Class II leaders. Mouligne held a 142-mile lead over Garside. Balance Bar was another 140 miles back. All four leading boats in Class II were facing even stronger upcoming storm in next couple of days. The new storm was expected pass right over these four boats and be significantly stronger than the one that devastated the Sydney to Hobart fleet last December. It would move right over the leaders and they could expect to see sustained winds of 50 to 70 knots. They would also be hard hit by confused seas and strong headwinds.

BBCrayValleyDetTop.jpg (23320 bytes) Cray Valley Photo Billy Black

Jean-Pierre Mouligne still might have been able to outrun the storm with some luck. He was aware of the critical situation in his email: "It is critical that I get to Cape Horn as quickly as possible. The forecast calls for a potential 70 knots Easterly gale for Friday at Cape Horn. I hope this does not materialize because it will make the rounding a living hell or more likely will prevent me from passing the Horn until the wind changes direction. Thank God forecasts are not always accurate and I hope that the scenario changes before Friday."

Michael Garside in second place was also wary: "For the last eighteen hours, despite our very different tracks, there has been no more than two miles gained or lost between Cray Valley and Magellan Alpha. Balance Bar, having been released by the low that trapped Brad, has been steadily gaining on us both. We all must make the best possible speed. There is a really nasty looking low scudding up from behind. It is critical that we remain to the east of it as it closes on the Chilean coast to our north. If it beats us to within striking distance of the Horn we are going to have to battle with awful headwinds and horrible seas as we try and round the southern tip of Latin America."

BBMagelanAlpha.jpg (22576 bytes) Magellan Alpha Photo Billy Black

Viktor Yazykov, about 500 miles behind Mouligne, was already experiencing weather craziness: "Last five day the weather is crazy out here. I have been awaken by strong squall and wind shift. Could not understand what is going. The boat is flying in opposite direction 12 knots. In few minutes the wind became even much stronger, so we have got on the wrong side of the low with the easterly winds. It was such a shock. But we have been lucky to have it for two hours only. By the end of the day we have got the best six hours run in the fleet. In a day or so another low will be on the way, so it is time to make the decision where to go."

BBShutenDohjiNarrow.jpg (26467 bytes) Shuten-dohji II Photo Billy Black

Almost 2000 miles behind Mouligne, Minoru Saito lost his jib. He reported: "Good morning, good afternoon everybody, but very bad morning for me, that it has my precious No.2 jib sail torn at last midnight. After that changed a staysail (Boat speeds down about 2Kts). I haven't spare No2jib and another headsail. Winds not so strong, that it's NNE 24-27Kts max under the 30Kts and headwinds, not knocked down. I've toothache again sometimes but not much, not everyday, and this several day having a pain in my right shoulder (an old wound.)- I know I getting old. Here's cold but not snowing, not hailing, not sleet, that it has better than a previous race. Still not through the radio communication."

001.jpg (24594 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Thiercelin

Somewhere

50 19S

064 02W

1002

8.8

0

2140

2

Soldini

Fila

51 30S

067 41W

1134

8.6

131.5

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

56 23S

078 52W

1513

9.8

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

57 42S

083 02W

1655

9.8

142.3

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

55 59S

087 17W

1795

10

281.8

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

54 11S

093 13W

2016

10.5

502.7

2144

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

50 56S

131 34W

3362

7.3

1849

2144

6

Petersen

No Bariers

47 42S

135 20W

3593

7.5

2080.6

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

47 44S

140 58W

3773

5.9

2259.8

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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