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Round Gotland Race
----- red rule -----
EF Language Takes Lead Over Swedish Match — Paul Cayard Reports

GOTHENBERG, Sweden — June 30, 1998

05:00 UT

It has been an interesting first 40 hours of the Gotland Round. We are in a class with four other Whitbread 60s, a Grand Mistral, an America's Cup boat, the old Rothman's Round the World boat, and a few other craft. Our course this year is 550 nautical miles.

Our main competitor is Swedish Match, who is seeking a little of consolation after our Whitbread win, and so far they are getting it. After we won the start and led around the first mark, they have made all the right moves and have been going a little faster than us on the long upwind legs that we have had. They are sailing very well.

After approximately 350 miles of racing, Swedish Match rounded the mark at Ossby, southern tip of Oland, abut 20 minutes ahead of us at 02:20 UT. We have both set 0.5 oz. gennakers and are on port tack, heading 020° at about 10 knots. Swedish's initial lead was 3.55 miles, and now it is 2.73. Typically we are a little faster than Swedish downwind and they are faster upwind.

The forecast was for the wind to get very light today and stay in the south-southwest direction. With 180 miles still to go, we are looking at a finish on Wednesday morning.

Unfortunately, we only brought food for two days, so we have one meal left and some soup. We have been contemplating having Domino's Pizza deliver some pizzas as we pass the mark at Visby this afternoon. By Whitbread rules, that would be legal as long as you anchored; I don't think it is legal by Gotland rules.

It has been rather cold out here at night, temperatures around 5°C. We have not seen any sea life out here. The nights are very short here at 59° north, which is nice for offshore sailing.

Swedish Match just gybed over to get closer to us, as I have been writing this message. We had been gaining on them, being just a bit offshore of Oland. Now, they are just one mile straight ahead of us. Should be an interesting 180 miles.

----- red rule -----

GOTHENBERG, Sweden — June 30, 1998

15:00 UT

EF Language passed Swedish Match at 13:30 UT and has now stretched out to a one-mile lead. EF Language is a little faster downwind, about the same amount that Swedish is upwind. This morning, at the south point of Oland, Swedish held a 3.5-mile lead over EF Language.

The wind is blowing about 10 knots from the south. We are 8 miles from the buoy at Visby. Of course, we are concerned about having to round the buoy that is so close to land, but at least it is the afternoon, when the breeze is usually the strongest.

We will probably gybe out away from Visby as soon as we can after rounding to get back into the steadier breeze.

Still a long way back to Sandhamm, and we have hungry ball players right behind us.


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