Day 05, Wednesday April 14, 1999

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Photo Richard Konkolski

A powerful southerly storm began moving north, bringing winds with gusts of up to 40 knots. Davie Robin, approaching Punta, could feel the strong wind first. Then the storm began hitting boats farthest back in the fleet. The condition could have become the same as during the dismasting of Balance Bar few days ago.

About 24 to 36 hours later of beating, winds would clock around from the south-southwest and push against the southerly flowing Brazilian current, creating very rough head seas, an awful sailing conditions for most of the fleet. Giovanni Soldini and Marc Thiercelin in Class I, and Garside and Mouligne in Class II were far enough north that they would not get hit as hard as the boats behind them.

Giovanni Soldini was able to take Class I lead and left Thiercelin some 73 miles behind. Soldini was also making a fleet-best average speed of over 9.5 knots, doubling the speed of Thiercelin. Soldini continued to sail north, while Thiercelin set off on an easterly heading this morning.

Soldini's Fila   FolFilaAir.jpg (21610 bytes)

Giovanni reported: "We're approaching Cabo Frio, which is just north of Rio de Janeiro. It's a strategic point in the race. From there on the Trade Winds pick up towards the Equator. For the next 24 hours we won't have much wind and we have to pass a cold South Atlantic front heading off the Brazilian coast towards the southeast."

"Right now we're behind the front with a stern wind from the southwest so we're sailing at 30 and 80. When I'm tacking at 30 we're heading towards the finish line and so gain some miles. But it's not that simple, because in a couple of days once we're ahead of the front, the wind will be from the north-northeast and whoever is further east will be upwind. So I'm sailing now in an effort to anticipate the wind change."

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

In Class II, Mike Garside remained in front with 22 miles lead over Mouligne. For a moment Mouligne enjoyed nice weather. He wrote: "It is a beautiful day in the South Atlantic today. Yesterday I jibed as the wind veered to the south and I am slowly moving away from the Brazilian coast. The weather forecast is complicated and a bit confusing. The grib files which I receive every day and give wind direction and velocity for a four-day period do not seem to agree with the weather fax. What should I believe? I also receive satellite pictures showing the weather pattern above the boat; they seem to indicate a third scenario. I spend hours analyzing all that weather data and often, at the end, I still base my decision on gut feeling and a barometer... What a contrast with the Southern Ocean! No more albatross following my wake but yesterday I had dolphins jumping all around the boat. Also the flying fish are back and this morning the deck was littered with tens of tiny ones. Compared with two months ago, this almost feels like a vacation... but it is not a time to relax. Mike is slightly ahead of me and very motivated. It is going to be a chess game all the way to Charleston."

Yazykow was doing a good job. He was only 127 miles behind the class leader, despite his small boat’s size.

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Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place Skipper Boat Latitude Longitude Dist. to go Speed Dist. to first Time
1 Thiercelin Somewhere 26 34S 043 30W 4906 9.5 0 2140
2 Soldini Fila 28 13S 042 52W 4979 4.7 73.3 2140

Class 2

Place Skipper Boat Latitude Longitude Dist. to go Speed Dist. to first Time
1 Garside Magellan Alpha 26 52S 044 21W 4945 9 0 2144
2 Mouligne Cray Valley 27 11S 044 33W 4967 8.5 22 2144
3 Yazykov Wind of Change 28 43S 045 32W 5072 3.2 127.8 2144
4 Saito Shuten-dohji II 30 18S 046 36W 5182 1.9 237.3 2144
5 Petersen No Bariers 30 40S 046 47W 5205 2.4 260.5 2144
6 Hunter Paladin II 30 54S 047 53W 5249 .3 304.4 2144
7 Van Liew Balance Bar 34 57S 054 56W 5668 0 360.3 2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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