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Whitbread Log: Leg 5, Auckland to São Sebastião
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  Today's models and gribs indicate wind shifting around from south to east and building, allowing us to reach in sometime Monday night.
Day 22 - Feb. 22, 1998

0225 GMT
31° 04'S, 048° 15'W

Miles to São Sebastião: 461

Place: 1st; distance ahead of 2nd-place boat: 442 miles

From: Mark Rudiger, Navigator, EF Language

Help! I've become a Satellite Junkie!

This distressing news was pointed out to me today and it's a good thing we are only two days from finishing or they would have to check me into a Satellites Anonymous clinic.

It all starts when I get up from a restless nap needing a satellite fix. I sneak into the navigatorium and check our position on the GPS, which is triangulating our exact position from multiple satellites and tells me we have 557 miles to go and have been making good a course of 66°mag at 11.5 knots.

Then I check the Satelllite C receiver to see what messages have come in. They range from weather bulletens to position reports to news from home. It uses a geo-stationary satellite and has a built-in GPS as backup. It showed the fleet 500 miles astern, gaining slightly, with better breeze. I am sending this to you on SAT C.

Now, we're just warming up. To be able to get a bird's-eye view of what's going on around us, there are NOAA satellites in polar orbit that send us "real-time" infrared and visible images on our satellite imagery receiver. We can view these on the computer and zoom and color to help interpret them. I see a weak front behind us, which has been giving us some good running wind, and I can see there are no high- or low-pressure systems nearby.

You would think one would have enough by now, but there is the "Big Gun" up forward still: The Sat B system. The Sat B is also using another geo-stationary satellite, but has the big dish up in the bow with the big computer in the media station. With Big B we can send and receive audio/visual signal at high speed. For me this means I get from the race office the latest weather models from different sources, the daily news, and weather routing "grib" files for optimum route calculations.

Today's models and gribs indicate wind shifting around from south to east and building, allowing us to reach in sometime Monday night. It is what we use to send you live video footage. This one is hard for me sneak a session with because it makes a lot of noise and no one is supposed to be forward of the mast because of microwave emmisions. It draws a lot of power, too, so I mostly get it in small doses.

I'm a little concerned how I'm going to "come down" from this addiction when the race is over. If any of you have any ideas please e-mail to: satellite_free@earthlink.grounded. Maybe my wife will have sympathy on me and let me subscribe to satellite TV to ease me down.

Mark Rudiger  
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Leg 5 positions at 1200 GMT today:
  1. EF Language (P. Cayard, skipper)
  2. BrunelSunergy
  3. Chessie Racing
  4. Swedish Match
  5. Merit Cup
  6. Toshiba
  7. Innovation Kvaerner
  8. Silk Cut
  9. EF Education
* 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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