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Whitbread Log: Leg 3,
Fremantle to Sydney
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  The food is . . . being served at the regular times, but that hasn't really helped the taste or consistency.
Day 4 - Dec. 16, 1997

Report #2

2024 GMT
38° 15'S, 127° 09'E

Miles to Sydney: 1,333

Place: 1st; distance ahead of 2nd-place boat: 1.6 miles

From: Paul Cayard, skipper EF Language

We have positioned ourselves in the middle of the fleet. Kvaerner and Brunel are 70 miles southwest, while Toshiba, Silk Cut and four others are 60 miles northeast. We climbed up and over Swedish Match tonight and are now 1.5 miles straight in front of them.

I am waiting for the sked right now. I think we have done pretty well.

The wind is real fickle out here. It is probably due to the high, which is trying to ridge in from the west, and we are very near the ridge line. The wind is shifting 20 degrees and up and down 4 knots in speed. Still, my guess is that the further south the better.

It has been an easier 12 hours in the sense that we have stayed on starboard tack the whole time. The boat is all cleaned up from the war of the first few nights and people are getting some quality sleep. The food is even being served at the regular times, but that hasn't really helped the taste or consistency.

The sked just came in and we did do well. Back up to second place, 3.5 behind Toshiba. The wind is gradually trying to go to the southeast and the boats to the south are getting it first. The question is, will the boats who invested in the south at a price get paid back enough to make it worth while?

So far, we have been paid back versus Silk Cut, Merit and that group we were with yesterday. Will Kvaerner get enough to take over the lead? Are there any cold fronts which could get far enough north to give Kvaerner and Brunel that extra push? That is what we are trying to find out in our weather research. If so, we may have to slide down south with any more right wind we get.

Life on this leg has not been too tough. The air temp has been in the 60s, so we are not very cold. No fire department training yet, so we are not soaked. My sleeping bag has dried out from its soaking of the first night. Basically, if you sleep in the wet sleeping bag, you dry it out after a few nights. We are not too grungy yet.

1400 miles to go. It seems like we are almost there and yet it seems like we just started. It is incredible how your perspective changes after a 7700 mile leg and a 4700 mile leg.

I am personally looking forward to getting to Sydney and seeing my family, whom I have not see since November 1. Hopefully that, if nothing else, we push me to get us to Sydney fast.

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Report #1

0452 GMT
38° 48'S, 123° 40'E

Miles to Sydney: 1,500

Place: 4th; distance behind
1st-place boat: 11.8 miles

From: Paul Cayard, skipper EF Language

It is getting tricky out here. We are sailing across the ridge extending out front of the next high center trying to get the southeasterly flow on the east side, and then southerly going southwesterly flow. The wind flicks back and forth. You dig into the new breeze for 20 minutes sailing the header, you tack, it holds, you think, "Right, we're there." Inevitably it heads you back down into the old wind and you have to tack back again.

All that tacking makes it tough on sleeping. Imagine getting up every hour tonight and going to the gym, lifting weights for 10 minutes, then trying to fall back to sleep knowing it is going to happen to you again in about 50 minutes.

There have been a few lead changes on this leg and there will be a few more. It will probably be that way right up the east coast of OZ.

We were ahead of Merit and Silk Cut this morning, but they opted to stay on starboard and go north. We have tacked back to port and headed southeast. So far we have seen two boats cross us — Toshiba and Swedish Match, we think. They were each about 5 miles ahead and to the south of us.

It is difficult to know where to invest because the weather pattern can change from when you get a satellite picture or weather fax. Subtle changes can make a big difference. In all the information, you can paint your dream or rationalize why what you are doing will be a winner. In the end, most boats will have shattered dreams and one will be happy. That is the nature of this kind of racing.

Paul Cayard

Leg 3 positions at 2400 GMT today:
  1. EF Language (P. Cayard, skipper)
  2. Toshiba
  3. Chessie Racing (J. Kostecki, tactician)
  4. Swedish Match
  5. Silk Cut
  6. Merit Cup
  7. Innovation Kvaerner
  8. BrunelSunergy
  9. EF Education
* Aggregate points total, including points scored for the first and second legs and points for the third leg according to current positions.

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