Day 27, Thursday May 6, 1999

Zapad4.jpg (22731 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Giovanni Soldini left the light winds and was moving toward the finish at speed approaching 9 knots. He passed just west and under the high-pressure system but Marc Thiercelin could encounter the high later today and tomorrow. Only later could Marc pick up speed too. Soldini had 294 miles to go and it looked like he would finish on Saturday and Thiercelin 24 hours later.

The last weekend storm system off the Carolinas was moving back to the southeast. Its cold front killed the trade winds and as a result of that boats on the east side of the front could get very light and very weak east-southeast winds covering a large area.

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

Already, Mike Garside and J.P. Mouligne were feeling the effects of this system. Their boat speeds dropped down and these conditions could stay for next seven days.

Mouligne turned a bit to the south in an apparent effort to try to use the system for his gain on Garside. His new course got him on course along the north side of the islands. It could be good decision, because the strong high was siting straight on the direct course to Charleston. But whatever the effort, both boats could make only slow progress. Garside still had 830 miles to go.

Mouligne who was 237 miles behind Garside already recognized these conditions in his email: "I am moving extremely slow toward Charleston and at that speed I am looking at another week at sea! …Yesterday a big sailboat appeared on the horizon. I was watching him with the binoculars because he was catching me quickly, something I am not used to... When he was only 3 or 4 miles to leeward I finally called him on the VHF to find out what could be such a fast sailboat. It was ‘Sleigh Rider,’ an ultralight 72-foot boat built by one of our customers, ‘Eric Goetz’ of Bristol. They had done Antigua race week and were on their way to Bermuda."

On another hand Minoru Saito had a good sailing, but not for long, as he reported: "I cannot believe it, too, but Shutendohji-II has a good wind direction and a good wind speeds (18kts-27kts), and maybe I can make one more day about 200 miles sailing. I wish, I hope it, but after that boat speeds down, after 10N-12N that it has winds speeds down (E/ESE 10-15kts)."

Neal Petersen also had a similar condition: "Computer-giving-more-trouble. Water-in- bilge big pain. Cooked-pasta-dinner. 3-more-such-meals-can-be-forged-out. Progress-good. 189-mile-run-in 24-hrs. Hope-computer-lasts-2-more-weeks."

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

Neil Hunter was feeling some changes in weather pattern as well: "There ain't too much east in these NE trades. Dead Northerly most of the day and only now just a smidge on the east side of due north. Not what the forecast predicted but then it rarely is. Consequently we are beating into it slightly sprung. Quite a bit of water on the deck."

The fleet was closed by Van Liew and his Balance Bar which sailed 1807 miles behind the first boat in his class. Only Robin Davie, who was no longer official competitor in this race, was a little behind him. As he crossed the Equator, he reported: "Bump, we crossed the line at 1650z this afternoon, and immediately the water flowing down the plug hole of the sink changed direction -- not a lot of people know that. It's pretty darn good to be back in the Northern Hemisphere, another major milestone of the South Carolina's progress around the world. We are now in the Doldrums, the wind is down, and the great helping current of the last 2 days is now a counter current flowing against me, so our speed and miles are way down."

MoreRacekDark.jpg (16503 bytes)
Photo Richard Konkolski

Positions:

Class 1

Place Skipper Boat Latitude Longitude Dist. to go Speed Dist. to first Time
1 Soldini Fila 28 21N 077 05W 294 8.6 0 2140
2 Thiercelin Somewhere 27 21N 072 26W 497 5 203.7 2140

Class 2

Place Skipper Boat Latitude Longitude Dist. to go Speed Dist. to first Time
1 Garside Magellan Alpha 22 38N 068 59W 830 10.4 0 2144
2 Mouligne Cray Valley 20 23N 065 21W 1067 4.8 237 2144
3 Yazykov Wind of Change 18 33N 057 36W 1464 6.5 633.3 2144
4 Petersen No Barriers 08 33N 048 27W 2262 8.7 1431.4 2144
5 Saito Shuten-dohji II 07 34N 047 28W 2337 7.5 1506.8 2144
6 Hunter Paladin II 07 02N 044 27W 2496 7 1666 2144
7 Van Liew Balance Bar 04 30N 043 38W 2637 9.7 1807 2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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