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Paul Cayard's Whitbread Log
Leg 6: São Sebastião to Ft. Lauderdale

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  The race winning question is; "Where will the northeasterlies fill from first?" If the answer is offshore, then the next question is will it pay enough to make up for the extra miles?
Day 7 - March 20, 1998

1606 GMT
01° 43'S, 037° 45'W

Miles to Ft. Lauderdale: 2,979

Place: 3th; distance behind 1st-place boat: 9.8 miles

From: Paul Cayard, Skipper, EF Language

It has been another trying day. Lots of potholes in this road. I think we are in the Doldrums. This is where they are rumored to be. Still, we have not done any slatting yet.

The big dilemma for me and Rudi is, do we go more offshore, and more off course, than we already are, or do we hold the line we have? The router, which is based on the famous grib that is the UK weather model, says that a course of 350°M is best. We have been sailing 352° most for the last 24 hours. Our friends on Merit have been sailing 005°M. They are getting close to Swedish Match. Our other friends on Toshiba are going closer to the course, which is 330°M and, therefore, they have taken over the lead.

The race winning question is; "Where will the northeasterlies fill from first?" If the answer is offshore, then the next question is will it pay enough to make up for the extra miles?

This is fairly nerve racking, as no one knows for sure. The Doldrums is a constantly moving target. I feel like I should be over next to Merit and Swedish, since they are #2 and #3 in the regatta. On the other hand, we are already sailing higher and, therefore, longer than the router thinks we should.

So, I analyze and reanalyze the situation — and worse yet I make Rudi reanalyze it — 10 times a day. To make matters more difficult to understand as far as weather in or out is good, the whole fleet is falling in potholes randomly and we don't know what we can't see.

Apart from that, the heater is still stuck on. The good news is that saltwater showers are free of charge. Freshwater showers come about three times a day, also free of charge, but not on demand.

Yesterday we saw two large whales. We had to avoid them. Today it was the battle of the Tuna and the Dolphin. Lots of jumping and flips. The water was boiling. What we would have paid to see water like that on some of the fishing trips we did off San Diego.

We are still making fast progress to Ft. Lauderdale. This morning, while we were doing 15 knots under spinnaker, I sneaked a look at the ETA meter — you should never do that this far out, especially just before entering the Doldrums. Anyway, it gave an ETA of 10 more days. That would be a record. We will see what the next 48 hours has in store for us. After that things should get pretty consistent again.


Paul Cayard

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Leg 6 positions at 1800 GMT today:
      BoatPoints*Position
Overall
      BoatPoints*Position
Overall
  1. Toshiba
  2. Silk Cut
  3. EF Language (P. Cayard, skipper)
  4. Innovation Kvaerner
  5. Chessie Racing (J. Kostecki, skipper)
  6. BrunelSunergy
  7. Merit Cup
  8. EF Education
  9. Swedish Match
414
385
596
449
465
270
455
159
426
6
7
1
4
2
8
3
9
5
* 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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