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Whitbread Log: Leg 5, Auckland to São Sebastião
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  The inside of the boat went from it's cool self to a steam bath. After three weeks at sea, we really stink, the boat stinks.
Day 20 - Feb. 20, 1998

Report #2

1351 GMT
38° 04'S, 052° 50'W

Miles to São Sebastião: 936

Place: 1st; distance ahead of 2nd-place boat: 573 miles

From: Paul Cayard, Skipper, EF Language

After half a day of exploring and backtracking, we have now resumed progress toward São Sebastião.

The southerly flowing Brazilian current smacked us hard last night, bringing confused seas and swirling winds. As the wind built to 27 knots, we reefed and went to the storm jib to slow the boat down. We were slamming pretty hard, and in light of our position, we felt it the prudent thing to do.

We have about 1.5 knots of current against us, most of which will remain with us for the remainder of the 980-mile trip. This means another 4.5 days, realistically. The weather forecasts have been extremely confused, the UK model, which the grib file is based on, showing the wind backing to the west in the next 24 hours, and the Dutch and U.S. models showing easterly wind. I think the best we can do is ignore all that and the current, and just go on the closest tack to the finish.

Last night as we were slamming, I was beginning to realize that this is getting to be a long leg. I am sure it is getting real long for those behind us although they may be consumed by the closeness of their race and therefore more distracted than we. Brunel's investment has paid off handsomely, as she has moved to second place by finding more wind and better current east of the Falklands. Chessie is also back in the fray.

The water temperature hit 70°F last night. It is 68° right now. The inside of the boat went from it's cool self to a steam bath. After three weeks at sea, we really stink, the boat stinks. I think a shower is imminent.

We are currently on the wind on Starboard tack, heading 30M, doing about 8 knots over the bottom, 9.5 through the water. Slow going really. I see in front of me that our average speed for this leg so far is 12.6 knots. That is impressive considering the first five days of the race and these last five days. We will see what the next five days brings us.

Paul Cayard
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Leg 5 positions at 1800 GMT today:
      BoatPoints*Position
Overall
  1. EF Language (P. Cayard, skipper)
  2. BrunelSunergy
  3. Innovation Kvaerner
  4. Chessie Racing
  5. Swedish Match
  6. Merit Cup
  7. Toshiba
  8. Silk Cut
  9. EF Education
507
215
412
385
391
398
351
297
126
1
8
2
5
4
3
6
7
9
* Aggregate points total, including points scored for the first, second, third and fourth legs and points for the fifth leg according to current positions.


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