Day 1 - Dec. 13, 1997
It is very early still, but probably better to be in the front than the back.
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
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
Report #1, Prestart
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
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.