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Fastnet Provides Preview of Competition to Come

Paul Cayard Comments on Lessons Learned

PLYMOUTH, England (August 12, 1997) — The 610-mile Fastnet Race offered a preview of the tight racing expected when the 32,000-mile Whitbread Round the World Race for the Volvo Trophy begins Sept. 21. The top six Whitbread 60-class sloops finished the 610-mile race within 38 minutes of each other.

Monaco's Merit Cup, skippered by the veteran Grant Dalton of New Zealand, led the pack, followed by the USA's Toshiba, skippered by another Whitbread veteran from New Zealand, Chris Dickson.

AmericaOne skipper Paul Cayard, acknowledging that he and his Team EF crew now have a clearer picture regarding the work that needs to be done, finished sixth.

Cayard comments on the experience:

EF Language came to participate in the Fastnet for the following reasons:
  1. To get into a race. This may sound silly, but in these programs you spend so much time testing that it's good to get the competitive juices flowing;
  2. To find out if the basic speed of our craft is good; and
  3. To find out what our weaknesses are.

I think we have accomplished No. 1 and have feedback on Nos. 2 and 3. On No. 2, we were all quite happy with our upwind speed, as demonstrated by our comeback in the Solent from a terrible start. Our running speed seemed average. I felt that Merit was the fastest downwind.

On our weaknesses, we definitely did not sail a good race strategically. We did not have a good handle on the meteorological situation in the race and, therefore, found ourselves without a plan much of the time. Also, we made some mistakes in our sail calls, which led to some large losses of time.

I have to say that yesterday, after the finish, I was a bit depressed. Today, with some time to reflect and sooth my ego, I realized that we accomplished just exactly what we came to England to do — check in. We now have a clearer picture of what we need to work on. I feel it was a very healthy experience and forced us to look at ourselves real hard to make sure we are not sixth to Cape Town.

While most of our competitors are probably taking a few days off, we left Plymouth four hours after finishing the Fastnet Race and after loading some supplies. We are currently working on our sail program in the North Sea on the way back to our base camp in Gothenberg.

Both the men's and women's teams of EF are pushing hard and I appreciate their commitment.

The Fastnet was part of the final long-distance offshore training session for Cayard and EF Language. On August 5, they sailed from their base in Gothenberg, Sweden, the 900 miles to Cowes, Isle of Wight, and right up to the starting line for the Fastnet Race on August 9. After completing the race and crossing the finish line, they sailed right back to Gothenberg — a 2,400-mile practice session.

Once back in Sweden, the final preparations will be made, and then it's back to England — Ocean Village in Southampton — on Sept. 1 to gear up for the start of the round-the-planet ocean marathon.

Fastnet Results, Whitbread 60:

  1. Merit Cup, Monaco (Grant Dalton) 10:25:05
  2. Toshiba, USA (Chris Dickson) 10:27:04
  3. Swedish Match, Sweden (Gunnar Krantz) 10:29:51
  4. Silk Cut, Great Britain (Lawrie Smith) 10:35:10
  5. Chessie, USA (George Collins) 10:39:11
  6. EF Language, Sweden (Paul Cayard) 11:03:14
  7. Innovation Kvaerner, Norway (Knut Frostad) 12:42:11
  8. BrunelSunergy, Holland (Hans Bouscholte) 12:47:56
  9. EF Education, Sweden (Christine Guillou) 13:18:05
For more details on the Whitbread Race, visit these Web sites:


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