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Whitbread Log: Leg 2,
Cape Town to Fremantle
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  On this leg, we showed again good boat speed and Rudy showed that he can place us in the right position.
Day 16 - Nov. 23, 1997

Report #2

0908 GMT
37° 40'S, 107° 33'E

Miles to Fremantle: 535

Place: 5th; distance behind 4th-place boat: 64 miles

From: Paul Cayard, skipper EF Language

Fire Hose is on now. Wind has headed to 330 degrees, 30 knots, boatspeed 20 knots.


Report #1

0707 GMT — 38° 26'S, 105° 47'E

Miles to Fremantle: 621

Place: 5th; distance behind 4th-place boat: 58 miles

Closing in on Fremantle. 621 to go at 0600 UT.

My analysis of our difficulties on this leg boils down to: "We are just a bunch of hyped-up buoy racers who don't know when to down shift."

Basically, we went into turn 4 of lap 55 with 20 mph too much pace on, scrubbed the wall, spun in the middle of the track, squared off the tires and tore off the rear spoiler. So, we pitted, got new tires, new spoiler, brushed off the dust, and we are back out on the track . . . one place further behind, but a little smarter for the experience.

I take full blame for the mistakes made, which caused the damage, which in turn cost us to sail without a spinnaker for a significant part of two days and lose over 100 miles. I did not appreciate the magnitude of loss of effectiveness we as a crew had. The cumulation of cold, fatigue, people out of position, heavy bulky clothes, more difficult communication all add up in an exponential way. Small mistakes which never would be an issue are common. Things don't go as planned or usual. Things snowball quickly.

The consequences in terms of down time are huge. Basically, you get to a point in certain conditions where your criteria for "racing" has to change. You have to be happy with less, because ultimately less will be more. You can't describe to someone what that point is, you just have to feel it. Now, I know more.

Still, on this leg, we showed again good boat speed and Rudy showed that he can place us in the right position. Around Day 10, when things were pretty tight between EFL, Merit Cup and Silk Cut, EFL tacked away to the south first and got the 70-mile lead on Silk and more on Merit. That was the key play, strategically, on this leg. So, what's not right can be fixed, and that is good news, because that is not always the case.

Back to the race at hand. We made a small gain on Silk Cut on the 0001 sked — first one in three or four days — but lost 13 miles on the 0600 sked. We have had the wind lift 40 degrees when it was forecast to head 20. We are probably under the influence of some local rain cloud or squall. It is gray everywhere, so you can only see on the radar.

It looks like a pretty straight forward walk into Fremantle, the wind slowly heading. The rich may get a little richer as they will sail at the broader angles longer while the system with the header fills from the west.

Swedish Match will finish tonight. Now, we know what it is like to still be racing after the leader finishes. They actually won a 4,700-mile leg in the first 4 hours of the race. Good on them!

Paul Cayard
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