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Whitbread Log: Leg 3,
Fremantle to Sydney
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  I have not always been this prepared when I have done well . . .
Pre-Race - Dec. 9, 1997

Fremantle, Australia

From: Paul Cayard, skipper EF Language

We have just finished our third day of sailing on Gage Roads off Fremantle, Western Australia. It feels good to be at this stage of readiness, 5 full days before the start of leg 3. We were not in the same shape a week prior to the restart in Cape Town, despite being first in.

With a large work list following leg 2, the crew of EF Language did not pause for one day of rest upon completing the 4,600-mile 16-day trek from Cape Town to Fremantle. Instead, EF Language pulled her mast out within two hours of the finish and pulled the boat out of the water at 0800 the next morning, getting a head start on her two closest predecessors on arrival, Toshiba and Silk Cut.

Added to the long list of work, EF Language was scheduled for a complete bottom paint job. The EF shore team, led by Tim Smythe, got right into it as well. Upon inspecting the mast that first night, we found that we had a dimpled third spreader. Magnus Olson, Justin Clougher and Dave White from the shore team completely disassembled and rebuilt our mast in three days.

Five sails had to have major surgery. Marco Constant, Mark Christensen, along with Paul Murray and Sam from the short team, worked for five days to get the sails back in shape. Klas Nylof had to rebuild the generator, relocate and rebuild the heater, and put in a new bilge pump. The bottom was finished and the boat was back in the water with the mast up by December 1.

With things under our control, and complete knowledge of the extent of the work remaining, the Language crew took three days off.
Steve Erickson, Marco and Curt Oetking (we can't pronounce it either, so we call him Edward King) went to Margaret River, which is the wine country of WA. Others went on similar trips, many went to the beach. Kimo stayed in his incubator and I took some time to catch up on a few letters and things that had been on my to-do list for months.

Everyone was back at 0800 Friday, December 5. Full crew practice was the agenda for the following three days, finishing today. The new sails arrived Friday, as well, so we got to check them out. All is in order.

Sailing on Gage Roads again was fun and brought back many memories of the fantastic America's Cup held in these waters in 1986-87. The breeze blows 18-30 knots every day, the water is bright blue, the sun is strong, and the sailing is the best!

As for our schedule this stopover, while it was a bit punishing, I really like being on the front foot. So far the only other competitor who has sailed are Silk Cut for two days and Toshiba for three hours. Everyone else has yet to sail and Merit [Cup] is still out of the water with the mast down. Also, the next stopover in Sydney through Christmas and New Year will be very short. I want us to be ahead on maintenance and spares so we don't get trapped by the holidays.

The last week before restart can be quite hectic. The press want interviews, speeches need to be made, dinners are held. Squeezing in your work is not the way to prepare. Tomorrow we start our daily weather study with Roger Badham, aka "Clouds." It is nice to be able to focus on that at least three hours per day for the week before the restart.

We will wet-sand the bottom for three hours tomorrow. Tuesday will be a day off. Wednesday, scrutineering (controls by the race officials) and loading the boat. Thursday, full crew practice and final check. Friday, loading personal gear, packing our belongings, and putting them in the containers for Sydney and relaxing. Saturday . . . full RACE!

I have not always been this prepared when I have done well, but I would say that usually people do well when they are well prepared and not in a chaotic rush the day before an important race. We will be checking that theory once again.

I think the next leg will be quite exciting for you to follow. The fleet should be closer than the first two legs and there is the potential for a restart down near the southeastern corner of Australia as we go from the south westerlies to normal easterlies [off] the east coast of OZ. So, the leader will never feel comfortable about this one until it is in the bank.

I am looking forward to getting racing again and the opportunity to improve our position. I know you are all getting ready for the holiday season, but stay tuned for some great racing from Down Under starting on Saturday, December 13 [night of 12 December, U.S. time].

Paul Cayard
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