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Whitbread Log: Leg 2,
Cape Town to Fremantle
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  Since the bilge pump broke a week ago, we have to hand bail the bilge every 20 minutes.
Day 15 - Nov. 22, 1997

1301 GMT
41° 15'S, 101° 34'E

Miles to Fremantle: 885

Place: 5th; distance behind 4th-place boat: 42 miles

From: Paul Cayard, skipper EF Language

We are slowly getting the old girl back together. Today we spent one hour and a half with no main while we replaced the battens. We only lost .8 mile to Silk Cut. That made us feel a little better.

The main is back up now, with battens, so it has shape. We do have a spinnaker pole, too. We sailed 30 hours without a spinnaker last week because we had no pole on two occasions. Basically, we broke one pole once and the other twice. Full carbonology each time to repair.

We have some leaks around the mast that are getting worse every day. We now take in 1 liter of water every 2 minutes from that one spot. It happens to be right over the head, so you have to have your foul-weather gear on when you do the serious work.

Since the bilge pump broke a week ago, we have to hand bail the bilge every 20 minutes. Your skipper has been doing quite a lot of bailing along with the guys.

I figured out today that being wet doesn't bother me that much because I AM wet. If I were dry, then getting wet would be bad. But since I am not dry, and actually forget what dry is, some wet is no problem.

The conditions up here at 41°S are peachy; 56°F water temp. While it is still blowing 20-25 knots, it is not nearly as harsh or abrasive as the same wind conditions at 52°S. Now, it rains in the squalls again. It is still gray every day. The seas are much smaller — 3 meters.

In some ways, it is nice to be back in the atmosphere, but in some ways it is anticlimactic. There is a certain attraction about the extreme conditions . . . it is the edge. The key is not to stray over it. I really don't know how much control we have over straying over it. Sometimes things happen to you . . . you don't always cause the action.

I do smell a small fire though. Mark Rudiger tells me that the wind will head us over the next 12 hours. We have already dropped our spinnaker as we gradually move onto the close-reaching angles. As you approach 50 degrees apparent wind angle, you begin to hear the sirens. Only one at first, because it starts out small. You know it's just a little fire in the backyard. Then you hear lots of sirens, trucks, police, ambulances, everything. Then they turn on the hose. And you remember what that is like. Luckily, there weren't any fires last week in the south country.

You know you are south when the weather faxes and charts all show Antarctica.

We do have a lot of work to do on our boat. I got a nice offer of help from my best friend, Ken Keefe, to come down to "FreeTown" and help us rebuild the crate. I guess he is sitting up there in his office, in Point Richmond, with his foul weather gear and boots on, reading this stuff. He loves to work on boats. He must see heaven here.

I am looking over at Rudy's computer and I see he has brought up the MapTec chart of Fremantle entrance. That is a good sign. I ask Rudy, "What do we have to go? Did we crack 900 yet?". He pushes the GPS . . . 868 to go. That used to be a long race for me. Now, that is just a walk in the park . . . a weekend's sail.

Paul Cayard
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