Volume I, Number 3
 

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Whitbread Update
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Training Intensifies as Countdown Begins

As the start of the Whitbread Round the World Race draws nigh, the training and preparation for the 32,000-mile ocean marathon by Paul Cayard and Team EF has ratcheted up another notch. A long-distance qualifying sail was completed in June aboard the new boat, followed by offshore training missions and participation in Sweden's Round Gotland Race in July.

Next on the agenda are additional offshore training sessions and the Fastnet Race in August, leading up to the Sept. 21 race start in Cowes, England.

2000-Mile Qualifier
Team EF completed its 2000-mile qualifier June 14-24. The course went from the home base in Gothenberg, Sweden, down to the English Channel, up and around the Faeroe Islands, and back to Gothenberg.

"In the 10 days we encountered all wind speeds, from 0 to 45 knots, and all wind angles. The closeness of the racing allowed for much experimentation and we all learned a lot about the Whitbread 60 class of boat," Cayard says.

The 10 days at sea require working 24 hours a day, learning continuously about sails, watch systems, food planning and nutrition, clothing, and all the boat systems — electrical, navigational, ballast, engine and generator. They returned with quite a few things to be improved.

The water temperature off the Faeroe Islands was 48 degrees Fahrenheit and the air temperature was 45 degrees Fahrenheit, providing an opportunity for testing of the Southern Ocean gear.

The last two nights were rather light in terms of wind, while all the nights were light in terms of daylight. The course took the EF Team as far north as 63 degrees north latitude, where it is never dark at that time of the year.

"The last night off Oslo, we saw sunset, sunrise and a full moon all at the same time. Truly incredible experiences," Cayard said.

Sail Testing
A five-day offshore training mission was devoted to the complicated sail program. The Whitbread 60s have fractional jibs, fractional reachers, masthead reachers, asymmetrical spinnakers, staysails and mainsails. Knowing what size, what geometry, what shape, and then what wind speed and wind angle in which to use each one, requires a great deal of methodical testing and evaluation.

With both the sail designer, Rob Hook, and shoreside sail coordinator, Paul Murray, on board, 160 tests were conducted in winds ranging from 3 to 40 knots, using everything from the drifter to the blast reacher and main with one reef.

Countdown to the Start
This summer, EF is completing two more five- to seven-day offshore training sessions, before sailing in the notorious Fastnet Race. Cayard and Team EF will sail from Gothenberg to the race start in England, complete the race to Ireland's Fastnet Rock and back, and then, without stopping, return to Sweden, where the final preparations will be made.

Team EF is fielding both a men's and women's team. Skipper Paul Cayard will be racing on EF Language, the women's team will be on EF Education. They sail to Ocean Village in Southampton, England, on Sept. 1 to gear up for the start of the months-long race.


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