Flying east through the southern Pacific on 25 knot winds, Italy’s G
Flying east through the southern Pacific on 25 knot winds, Italy’s Giovanni Soldini clocked 284 miles in one day, maneuvering his 50-foot yacht into third place overall in the third leg of the BOC round-the-world race.
His achievement Thursday was even more notable because the two boats ahead of him are both Class I yachts: longer, taller, and carrying substantially more sail area than his 50-foot, Class II boat, ``Kodak.″
``What Soldini is doing in a boat 10 feet shorter is just remarkable,″ said race spokesman Herb McCormick, speaking from Punta del Este, Uruguay, site of the next finish line in the 27,000-mile, four-stage race.
Soldini opened a 101-mile lead over his nearest Class II competitor, David Adams of Australia, who was sixth overall in the fleet of 13 solo racers.
Until now, Adams and Soldini had spent most of this leg, which began Jan. 29, within a few miles of each other.
``It was a wild night,″ Adams messaged race headquarters. ``I think Giovanni is pushing too hard and taking risks.″
Defending champion Christophe Auguin, averaging about 14 knots, was in first place Thursday, roaring along under north, northwest winds that McCormick said averaged 25-to-35 knots.
Despite his boat speed, Auguin’s lead over fellow Frenchman Jean Luc Van den Heede had narrowed to 33 miles from 51 a day earlier.
Steve Pettengill of Middletown, R.I., was in third place in Class I, 170 miles behind Auguin and one mile behind Soldini. Rounding out Class I were a South African, Jean Jacques Provoyeur, and two Americans, Arnet Taylor Jr. of Portsmouth, N.H., and David Scully, of Dwight, Ill.
Most Class II competitors were far behind Soldini and Adams. Chaniah Vaughan of Britain was third, 440 miles behind Soldini. He was followed by Alan Nebauer of Australia, Robin Davie of Britain, Minoru Saito of Japan, and Henry Hornblower, another Briton.
McCormick said the seas on this leg _ from Sydney, Australia, to Punta del Este _ were much kinder than those racers faced on the second leg in the southern Indian Ocean.
``(Then) low pressure fronts rolling in caused some very strong cross-seas,″ he said. ``On this leg, they are getting straight westerlies, making the seas very conducive to surfing.″
The round-the-world race, held once every four years, began Sept. 17 in Charleston, S.C., and will end there in late April.