t was a nice start for EF Language as we threaded the needle
between Chessie to leeward and Silk Cut and Swedish Match to
windward. All yachts used the now famous masthead reachers for
the fast reach out Sydney Harbour.
One yacht was over early at the start, the first one this
Whitbread, and it was Dennis Conner on his Toshiba for his first
leg. DC had to go back to restart, which placed him last out the
EF Language poked her nose clean out in front of the pack and
slowly stretched her lead to four lengths over Silk Cut at the
first mark at South Head. The wind has lightened considerably
since the fleet left the coast.
Our weather man, Roger Badham, aka "Clouds," has been coaching us
all week. He expected us to be met with light winds shifting to
the northeast for the first 36 hours. After, on Tuesday or
Wednesday, we should be picked up by a southerly change, hopefully
with some grunt in it, which should allow us to make some serious
miles toward North Cape.
So far the wind has gone from 155 [degrees] to 120 and back to 135
currently. We have 9.5 knots of boat speed and are doing 9.75 of
boat speed on a course of 75M [degrees magnetic].
Again, the start is one of the most exhilarating moments in these
legs and winning another one set a good tone on board EFL as we
begin this short sprint. We have now settled into our watch
system, trying to make sure we can conserve our energy for the
end. I think this leg will be won and lost in the last 150 miles
coming down the east coast of New Zealand.
Sydney is truly one of the great cities of the world. I could live
there. They will be excellent hosts in 2000. Goodbye, Sydney, and
thanks for your hospitality.