Day 12, Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Bigracek.jpg (16357 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Doing above 10 knots, the two Class I skippers were moving swiftly north, with Marc Thiercelin once again trailing Giovanni Soldini by 79 miles. But their speedy sailing with fresh trade winds would end within next two days at the Doldrums at about 4 south. The width of the Doldrums depends on worldwide weather conditions. Currently the area's width from south to north ranged from 350 to 500 miles.

FolFila.jpg (23256 bytes) Giovanni's Fila

The frontrunner Giovanni Soldini emailed: "Everything's going by the book here. FILA is in good shape and apart from the problem with the boom everything is OK. The damage to the boom is under control and I've marked the crack with a pen so that I can check every millimeter of movement, and it seems there's no immediate problem. The mast base, which was making some strange noises when close-hauled, is OK now that the wind has dropped. The shrouds are also a bit looser too and so the base is under less pressure. I'm very relaxed and spend my time checking out the weather and tactics. I make sure the boat is always rigged properly and try not to make any mistakes that might lead to damage. In short, it's a lesson in prudence this leg so I can keep my rival behind me. The boat goes better when it's not swamped in sails and the time you make up in the short term is often lost at the end because you make mistakes when you're rushing. Below Cabo Frio I headed toward land to pick up some breeze and that decision proved the right one. The wind changed and when I turned round I'd gained a good 15 degrees toward the north in relation to Marc who was stuck on a terrible route too far east. Anyway, 90 miles give or take a few miles isn't bad. Ciao for now.

BBMagelanAlphaStearn.jpg (28476 bytes) Garside's Magellan Alpha Photo Billy Black

In Class II, Mike Garside continued to lead the leg with 157 miles on J.P. Mouligne. Michael Garside was very happy with his performance despite some problems. In his email he wrote: "Well the figures are still going my way. I've extended my lead over J-P to 120 miles tonight. Beating him is all very well, but it is a full-time job. I've not read a word of the five novels I have aboard and I have hardly slept and barely eaten. I have spent my time reefing, unreefing, changing headsails, filling ballast tanks and unfilling ballast tanks - all by hand pump. The electric one has failed. The toe is well on the mend. I can't imagine how so much blood could fall out of it. But it did. It's on my good foot, if either of the unattractive looking ends of my legs could be described as good. I have only just hit the SE trades today and this is day 10. I expected to be at Recife by day 10, so it looks as this leg may be 4 days longer than anticipated. The Doldrums are the key now. All my wind instruments have gone and so I have to steer by autopilot. This doesn't take account of wind changes and so if I'm not actively doing something I sit and stare at the COG and SOG readings and press left and right buttons if the figures wander."

BBMouligneDetail.jpg (20546 bytes) J.P. Mouligne Photo Billy Black

Back in second place J.P. Mouligne was in big trouble as he admitted in his report: "The last 2 days have been the most frustrating of my life... It started when I finally decided to call Dr. Carlin to get some advice on my knee, which was swollen and very painful. It was to the point where I could not ignore it any longer. The doctor's diagnosis was a strep infection, a dangerous condition at home but a potentially deadly one at sea. He recommended high doses of antibiotics, which I started to take right away. If the infection could not be contained I would have to make to the nearest Brazilian port, or worse be airlifted from the boat. In any case, the race would be over... In the meantime, I had absolutely no wind and with the sails slapping back and forth my mainsail (which I had hastily repaired a few days ago) was quickly approaching the point of no return. The sail had ripped in a semicircle just above the tack. I took all the sail down and started working on it. By night I was only halfway thru the repair and with a little bit of wind back, I rehoisted the main and sailed with one reef in all night to protect the unfinished patch. As soon as it was day light, I got back to work, gluing strips of kevlar cloth and them stitching them in place. It took me all day in scorching heat but the result seems quite strong and I think that the repair will last. In the meantime, of course, I was taking a terrible beating from Mike (Garside) who is now 140 miles ahead. Worse is that he is in a more favorable position and keeps on accelerating all the time."

By the weather forecast J.P. would not get the wind directions he needs to gain, and he might even lose a few more miles. But soon Cray Valley would begin getting into east-southeast winds and getting much better wind direction.

A large high pressure system was drifting offshore and could cover a wide area with light winds. This was not good scenario for boats farther south. Only Yazykov could just squeak into the trades before the high catches him.

Neil Hunter's Paladin II Photo Billy Black  BBPaladinIINarrow.jpg (20520 bytes)

But for now even Neil Hunter had some wind as he was able to describe it in his message: "Another beautiful tropical morning. Beating hard on into a light breeze. Forecast says the breeze should be SE so I’ve got NE. Par for the course I suppose. At least it is a good steady breeze and we are heading north. We are a little closer to shore now, about 70 miles off and just outside the continental shelf drop off. The fishing fleets are back and the inshore horizon was again last night lit up with the bright lumes of fishing boats spread evenly apart along the line of the shelf. Like evenly spaced streetlights along a highway at night. Managed to speak to Neal Petersen and Minoru on the HF radio yesterday. Neal was inshore, in fact only 500 meters off the shore, and in very shallow water. When I asked what he was doing so close in there he said he was going to get a Pizza - so I put my order in for one too. It will probably be cold by the time I catch up with him in Charleston. Minoru said he spent the previous night dodging oil rigs!"

Finally, unofficial competitor Robin Davie was also underway after departing from Punta at 1910 GMT yesterday. He wrote: "South Carolina is back at sea and drifting slowly eastwards away from Punta. Maybe there's more dream than drift at the moment, the sea is a glassy millpond. Today saw the wind lightening up, the clouds clearing away, the temperature rising, and the first day that foulweather gear wasn't needed."

MoreBigLon2.jpg (47840 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place Skipper Boat Latitude Longitude Dist. to go Speed Dist. to first Time
1 Soldini Fila 08 41S 034 04W 3708 10 0 2140
2 Thiercelin Somewhere 09 42S 034 55W 3786 10.3 78.6 2140

Class 2

Place Skipper Boat Latitude Longitude Dist. to go Speed Dist. to first Time
1 Garside Magellan Alpha 12 04S 035 22W 3923 7.7 0 2144
2 Mouligne Cray Valley 14 39S 035 59W 4080 8.2 157 2144
3 Yazykov Wind of Change 16 31S 037 21W 4213 2.8 290.8 2144
4 Petersen No Barriers 20 09S 039 53W 4473 4.5 550.6 2144
5 Saito Shuten-dohji II 21 12S 038 47W 4503 2.1 580.6 2144
6 Hunter Paladin II 22 23S 039 56W 4594 2.5 671.6 2144
7 Van Liew Balance Bar 30 06S 048 44W 5241 5 1318.1 2144

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