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Tuesday 1 June 1999

Around Alone is Final

This past weekend the 1998-99 edition of Around Alone went final as they say.  9 of the 16 starters were classified as official finishers.   Two more sailors returned to Charleston as unofficial competitors, and 15 of the 16 were present for a celebratory weekend. 

The Awards Ceremony was held appropriately at the Charleston Customs House.  Certainly not the first time this venerable building has seen sailors return from 'going foreign'.

Not surprisingly race winner Giovanni Soldini made several trips to the stage.  He won awards for seamanship, spirit and his race placing.  Later when the Charleston Symphony Orchestra took stage he was drafted as a guest conductor and energetically ran the group through a John Phillip Sousa tune.

Marc Thiercelin won awards for the best 24 hour run of the race and for being the first Class I boat to reach Cape Horn. 

Brad Van Liew won the best communication award named after long time Race Operations Center Director Peter J. Dunning.

At the opening of the ceremony Josh Hall of Gartmore Investment Managers which was dismasted on Leg 3 remarked that although he was not supposed to speak he would anyway.  Hall said: "I've never been any good at doing what I am told."  He also said his mother had wished he had a 'proper job'.

Indeed it is unlikely that any of the sailors on stage had specifically been told to sail Around Alone.  Just to get to the starting line they likely had to put up a stronger fight than most of us are capable of.

Now they are added to the short list of those who have circled our planet alone on a sailboat.  Although this is not on most lists of 'proper jobs', they did a proper job of it as all 16 returned safely and 9 of those can add Around Alone finisher to their resume for when they have to nab that proper job. 

Official award winners were:

  • For best 24-hour run of the race in Class I: Marc Thiercelin, 396 nautical miles
  • For best 24-hour run of the race in Class II: J.P. Mouligne, 331 nautical miles
  • The Peter J. Dunning Communications Award: Brad Van Liew
  • The Seamanship Award for the race: Giovanni Soldini
  • The Spirit of Around Alone Award: Giovanni Soldini
  • First in Class I to Round Cape Horn Award: Marc Thiercelin
  • First in Class II to Round the Horn Award: J.P. Mouligne
  • First unsponsored boat to Round the Horn Award: Minoru Saito

Note:  Please visit the Torresen Sailing Site on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday's and Fridays for Sailing Daily.