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Whitbread Log: Leg 3,
Fremantle to Sydney
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  It is very early still, but probably better to be in the front than the back.
Day 1 - Dec. 13, 1997

Report #2

1712 GMT
32° 40'S, 115° 34'E

Miles to Sydney: 2,065

Place: 1st; distance ahead of 2nd-place boat: 0.6 mile

From: Paul Cayard, skipper EF Language

Well, we had a great start, winning the committee boat end in a little dual with Silk Cut. The boys got our spinnaker up and drawing first and we were off like a shot in the 22 knots of wind. For a while it looked close with Merit Cup and Swedish Match, but we got a little more pressure than they and stretched enough to gybe and cross everyone.

We had a boat-length lead over Merit at the first buoy, where the chutes came off and we all went with headsails. Merit was quite slow and got passed by Swedish Match almost immediately.

Swedish and ourselves stretched out on the rest of the fleet after rounding Rottnest and headed south on starboard tack.

On the first tack off the beach, something strange seemed to happen to Swedish Match, not sure if the hit the ground or what. Then, two tacks later, the valve on our port forward tank broke. We sailed for an hour on port with one ton of ballast missing. This let Chessie and the others gain quite a lot on us. But we got it fixed and it seems that we are doing well on them again.

We are approaching Cape Naturalist now and wondering if the wind will be light as we go around it. Being first, we have to decide how far off to stand. If we do it too close we could park there. If we do it too far off, the others may cut the corner on us. Same old stuff. The direction of the wind has gone from the 210 sea breeze at the start and after Rotto to 135, which is the gradient wind of the thermal low over southern Western Australia.

It felt good to win another start and get back out racing. It is very early still, but probably better to be in the front than the back.

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Report #1, Prestart

0417 GMT

Miles to Sydney: 2,250

The final preparations are complete and we are on our way to check out the starting area for Leg 3.

The starting line will be just off the harbor entrance to Fremantle. From there we go on a heading of 020 for 4 miles to a Volvo buoy off Cotteslowe Beach. Then to the Fairway Buoy where the America's Cup Matches of 1987 were started, then leaving Rottnest Island to port. From there the bearing is 200 to Cape Naturalist.

The Fremantle doctor is in, so we will have a good wind from 210, probably 20 knots +. This means a running start, which is always tricky. Also, we will all probably arrive at the first buoy off Cotteslowe together for another interesting episode.

So, get ready to go racing for the next 8 or 10 days. This leg should feature more lead changes and tight racing than the first two. I will give you all the details I can as we go down the track to Sydney. Just throw a little water on yourself if you really want to get in the mood.

Got to get on deck and figure out my start.

Paul Cayard
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