Day 24, Monday March 1, 1999

Slunce.jpg (14471 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Soldini was 318 miles from Punta del Este and making about 11.2 knots. With his weather dominated by high pressure Soldini was not expected to finish until Wednesday.

Marc Thiercelin finally stepped ashore in the Falkland Islands. First, the towboat could not find him and returned back to the harbor. Then the boat was sent back to sea where both boats were searching for each other for over an hour. They finally made contact by VHF. Thiercelin accepted the tow and got into the harbor without starting his engine.

BBMouligne.jpg (21493 bytes) J.P. Mouligne Photo Billy Black

Meanwhile, Mouligne shortened his distance to the finish to less than one thousand miles. However his lead over Garside shortened as well to just 57 miles. Mouligne was forced to sail around Staten Island, thus making extra miles. He also had additional problems, as he reported: "First early in the morning and for the second time on this leg, the block which holds the gennaker halyard parted again, sending the sail in the water. It was 4 hours of hard labor to hoist the sail back on board, climb to the top of the mast to set a new block and halyard and reset the gennaker. I was becalmed for 6 hours, average speed was 1.6 knots... I even got a note from Isabelle on FILA wondering how I was doing. This is the kind of speed you usually do upside down..."

FolMagelanAlpha2.jpg (21562 bytes) Garside's Magellan Alpha

Garside on other hand was able to get though Straits of Le Maire, but not without problems: "I had passed Cape Horn and now had to tackle the Straits of Le Maire - with whatever local weather was on offer. At first this started well. I had a nice light breeze blowing Alphie towards the gap between Staten Island on his right and Tierra del Fuego on his left. A pitch-black night closed on us as we slipped between the two islands. Then the wind died. We wallowed and turned a few circles in the current. But just as I was about to lose my temper, back came a bit of a blow - and we were off, hissing through the night on flat calm water with a strong tide in our favour. Then the wind died. I could make out the moon mountain shape of Staten Island. And as it came into focus I realised we were drifting back down on it. The speed picked up to four knots. I hurriedly looked at the large scale chart and was not surprised to see there would be no chance of dropping an anchor. The water was deep close to the land which was fringed with kelp beds. And, the chart showed the coastline was littered with shipwrecks… A movement in the water caught my eye. Slowly a long dark curve rose and fell. A whale. Then the whole sea surface started to move. Thirty, forty, fifty? It was impossible to tell how many as the pod slowly passed between the island and the boat. What magic! The tide started to flow faster. Large clumps of kelp drifted past. And looking down into the freezing cold water I could see I was surrounded by a soup of clear jellyfish, each with a purple heart. I guess they must live in the Strait of Le Maire, moving back and forwards with each turn of the tide. Forever. Then the wind came back."

Less fortunate, Neal Petersen was still 1700 miles from Cape Horn. "Conditions are horrendous out here," he wrote, "I am encountering winds up to 50 knots. It is blowing dogs off chains. The seas are huge and confused. Well, this is being no walk in the park."

BBShutenDohjiII.jpg (27737 bytes) Saito's Shuten-dohji II Photo Billy Black

Minoru Saito, being more to the south, had even worse conditions. "Now, I have a big storm gale. It's the winds 50-60kts, gusting 70-80kts, maximum 85kts. Now barepole, staysails, some hanks gone, but very beautiful full moon light. It's bloody weather, very difficult going to the destination. See you tomorrow, I hope good weather, good night, I'm going to the bunk", he wrote.

Moredl7.jpg (15393 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

39 20S

058 41W

318

11.2

0

2140

2

Thiercelin

Somewhere

51 41S

057 49W

1011

0

1011

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

49 56S

063 25W

972

4.6

0

2144

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

50 47S

064 08W

1029

4.5

57.4

2144

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

52 53S

064 30W

1149

5.4

177.4

2144

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

56 11S

068 10W

1395

3.4

423.2

2144

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

52 26S

112 45W

2935

7.7

1962.7

2144

6

Petersen

No Bariers

48 18S

112 50W

3056

7.5

2084.5

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

46 58S

124 19W

3487

4.4

2515

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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