Day 29, Saturday May 8, 1999

BBSoldiniFace.jpg (14451 bytes)
Photo Billy Black

Very early in the morning, Giovanni Soldini emerged from the black night and at 0532 GMT he crossed the finish line at Charleston. By winning this fifth BOC Challenge / Around Alone Solo Race, Soldini became the first non-French winner race in two decades. His time for the last leg was 27 days, 14 hours, 32 minutes, and 32 seconds, almost three days slower than the time of previous race’s winner Christophe Auguin. But he won this race in record time of 116 days, 20 hours, 07 minutes and 59 seconds. He broke the race record time by 4 days and 21 hours.

BBFila.jpg (26218 bytes) Soldini's Fila Photo Billy Black

As Soldini crossed the line, a star flare lighted the dark and Giovanni immediately activated a red hand flare. A spectator fleet of more than two dozen boat exploded in cheers and horns. As he arrived at the harbor, so many Italian and American fans filled the pontoon that it started to sink, forcing many to run for safer ground.

Since he left Punta del Este, Giovanni Soldini held the lead and his command of the race course was never seriously threatened. He was in total control. Soldini said that one of the reasons he was so successful in this race was because he had been there before.

FolFila.jpg (23256 bytes) Soldini's Fila

Once his boat was tied to the dock, Soldini's shore team and his father Adolfo were the first to get aboard and embrace the new winner. With the first interview Soldini quickly passed the credit to his shore crew, Bruno Laurent, Guido Broggi, Claudia Palisi and previous race winner Yves Dupasquier. He said that the team built the boat in their own little corner in Italy, using his lost-at-sea friend Andrea Romanelli’s project and different things from the previous French racers. Obviously the boat was well prepared and the crew managed to fix everything on their own. Soldini did not forget to mention that he also had some good luck.

MSFilaBack.jpg (15114 bytes)
Soldini's Fila Photo Marek Slodownik

It was a great victory for Giovanni Soldini, his team and sponsors. His rival Thiercelin would need over another day to cross the finish line.

In Class II leader Mike Garside had just over 400 miles to go. He was doing just fine, holding his lead on Mouligne. In his email he reported: "Magellan Alpha seems to be going like a rocket. Since Gio told me how to use the water ballast system to best advantage at the Punta prizegiving I haven't looked back. Just wish I had known all this a bit earlier on in the race… My sails are in excellent shape, although I know I am over canvassed most of the time. I'm using the keel hydraulics constantly as a trimming system to keep the boat balanced as it accelerates and slows down. That's working just fine. Even my jury-rigged tiller tie-bar seems to be holding up."

On another hand Mouligne’s report was not so happy: "I have crawled at a snail's pace all night, and just as I am about to write the gloomiest report, the wind is coming back and I am moving again… Not having wind is like some Chinese torture, because the wind sensor alarm buzzes constantly (to remind you that there is no wind...) and you cannot get any sleep… Added to the fact that, on the current position report, Mike Garside is going 7 knots faster than I am, you have a recipe for going crazy..."

Mouligne was 645 miles from finish and with strong and stationary high pressure system it could take him over a week to finish this last leg.

 FolSodiniOnDeck.jpg (24861 bytes)
Giovanni Soldini

Positions:

Class 1

Place Skipper Boat Latitude Longitude Dist. to go Speed Dist. to first Time
1 Soldini Fila 31 26W 079 08W 0 0 0 0
2 Thiercelin Somewhere 30 23N 077 17W 190 12.4 189.5 1540

Class 2

Place Skipper Boat Latitude Longitude Dist. to go Speed Dist. to first Time
1 Garside Magellan Alpha 26 12N 074 41W 473 9.2 0 2144
2 Mouligne Cray Valley 23 02N 070 33W 759 10.8 285.8 2144
3 Yazykov Wind of Change 20 39N 060 27W 1260 4.4 787.3 2144
4 Petersen No Barriers 12 30N 053 00W 1906 8 1432.6 2144
5 Saito Shuten-dohji II 10 40N 051 57W 2027 7.7 1553.6 2144
6 Hunter Paladin II 09 53N 048 25W 2209 7.7 1735.9 2144
7 Van Liew Balance Bar 07 50N 049 42W 2240 9 1767.3 2144

Copyright Richard Konkolski
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