Day 34, Thursday March 11, 1999

010b.jpg (28840 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Marc Thiercelin covered 297 miles yesterday with an average of 13 knots and surfing up to 24 knots. It was a good run considering his new, much shorter mast. By the end of the day he was 363 miles from the finish line. It looked like he could finish early Saturday morning.

Neal Petersen has chosen a northerly route on his approach to Cape Horn and got himself close to the hazardous southwest coast of Chile. The combination of wind and current makes this stretch of coast dangerous under the best of conditions. Unfortunately, Petersen had some of the worst conditions. In his email he wrote: "I had sustained winds of 60-65 knots, with gusts up to 77 knots last night. I took over a dozen near fatal knockdowns. The mainsail is ripped, but I might be able to repair it in a day or two. The boat was full of water from the knockdowns. She is a total mess. I had water up to 12 inches above the floorboards. I was under bare poles, and in some of the gusts surfing at 15 knots. I am wet, soaked to the skin. I have already gone through three changes of clothing. Each time I was forced onto deck to try and steer her; there were times I was up to my chest in water as the waves washed over the boat. It is the worst storm this vessel and I have endured, and hopefully will ever have to endure."

MSNoBarriersNarrow.jpg (23133 bytes) No Barriers Photo Marek Slodownik

Later he continued: "The seas are still very confused. They are not that huge, about 20-30 foot, but they are coming from many directions. I have not been able to put the boat back together yet. Tomorrow maybe. There is wet clothing lying on the floor, water still sloshing in the bilge which I am trying to get removed with the hand pump. I found my tooth brush, so at least I can brush my teeth with salt water. No toothpaste though.

Both cabins are turned upside down. The bunk boards are all over the place, the mattress in my cabin is barring my entrance, stuff is rolling around as we are bouncing in the seas.

Last night frightened me. Even though I was harnessed on, the waves were trying to drown me in the cockpit. Fresh water from the rain mixed with the spray of the sea. My eyes were stung, and I breathed in water as if I was diving into the sea. It was pitch black and I could see nothing without a flashlight. The wind was shrieking through the rigging, sounding worst than a cat crying in the night. The spray pelted me like someone blasting me with a shotgun. Eventually there was nothing I could do more for my boat, but leave her be… …Never before have I had to fight for my life like last night."

MSPetersen3.jpg (12550 bytes) Neal Petersen Photo Marek Slodownik

It was confirmed that Petersen was in a bad spot at a bad time. There was a high-pressure system just north of him and a low-pressure system just south of him, which was creating a very tight gradient right where Petersen had to sail.

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Positions:

Class 1

Place

Skipper

Boat

Latitude

Longitude

Dist. to go

Speed

Dist. to first

Time

1

Soldini

Fila

Punta

del Este

0

0

0

0

2

Thiercelin

Somewhere

40 57S

056 27W

363

7.5

362.6

2155

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

Punta

del Este

0

0

0

0

2

Garside

Magellan Alpha

Punta

del Este

0

0

0

0

3

Van Liew

Balance Bar

Punta

del Este

0

0

0

0

4

Yazykov

Wind of Change

Punta

del Este

0

0

0

0

5

Saito

Shuten-dohji II

56 14S

070 06W

1453

3.4

1452.6

2144

6

Petersen

No Bariers

55 22S

073 55W

1577

6.3

1576.5

2144

7

Hunter

Paladin II

49 26S

093 24W

2367

6.7

2367.2

2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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