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Paul Cayard's Whitbread Log
Leg 8: Baltimore to La Rochelle

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  I ate that piece of humble pie, sailing around all afternoon in the back of the pack, waved to everyone I could see, and pressed on. Now, it is Monday morning, and after a good night's work, we are . . . ahead of Swedish Match.
Day 2 - May 4, 1998

1404 GMT
36° 60'N, 074° 45'W

Place: 1st; distance ahead of 2nd-place boat: 0.3 mile

Miles to La Rochelle: 3,236

From: Paul Cayard, Skipper, EF Language

It was a long afternoon Sunday as we sailed out the Chesapeake very near the back of the fleet after a bad start by yours truly. I know there are still 3,400 miles to go, but when you have the biggest turn-out of sailing fans ever to see any sailboat race in history in the USA, and it is live on TV, this is not the time to be next to last. Still, the fans were unbelievable. It did not seem to matter to them. They cheered us by name as we sailed by, the said we were the best and wished us luck.

I was both moved and impressed by this strong support. Maybe it is because EFL has the most Americans (6) of any crew in the Whitbread Race, or maybe it was that we are leading the race. There were so many who wished me and the team well, not just yesterday but all week. It really made us feel good to be part of a sport that was graced with such strong enthusiasm in our home country. It serves to motivate us at AmericaOne, even more, to get our America's Cup back next year.

Back to the scene . . . there must have been 5,000 boats out there. For sure, I could not count them. They were strewn all over the bay for about the first forty miles of the race. Anyone who saw the sight had to be in awe. Congratulations, again, to Baltimore-Annapolis!!

So, I ate that piece of humble pie, sailing around all afternoon in the back of the pack, waved to everyone I could see, and pressed on. Now, it is Monday morning, and after a good night's work, we are in 3rd place just a few meters out of the lead and ahead of Swedish Match.

The Chesapeake was very shifty and tricky last night with thunder storms and rain squalls. And, yes, there really is a long way to go to France, so things will shuffle around some more before we start counting points for this leg.

We have been in our full-race watch system all night to give us maximum human resources to deal with all the sail changes required. This means we are pretty tired after getting about two hours sleep each. Today we will shift into the "standard" watch system, which will get everyone's batteries recharged. Rudi thinks there will be some wind tomorrow, so we need to be in shape for that.

The decision to be made right now is whether to go on the great circle course, which is shorter and at a faster sailing angle, or to go south of that, on a longer course and slower sailing angle to get the advantageous Gulf Stream current. If you are asking how much slower and how much longer a course, you are asking the right questions. The longer course is answerable — 31 miles between the mouth of the Chesapeake and a way point south of Newfoundland. How much faster or slower we will sail on a given course as well as the delta in current is a bit of a mystery. Those calculations are based on forecasts. So, once again, we need to stay in the same area as Swedish Match.

The winds don't look particularly strong for the next week, so we don't expect a record crossing. Tomorrow should give us a bit of wind from the south or southeast, so we will be reaching fast. After that, the wind looks lighter as we approach the high-pressure system.

Paul Cayard

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Leg 8 positions at 1800 GMT today:
  1. EF Language (P. Cayard, skipper)
  2. Swedish Match
  3. Chessie Racing (J. Kostecki, skipper)
  4. Silk Cut
  5. BrunelSunergy
  6. EF Education
  7. Merit Cup
  8. Toshiba
  9. Innovation Kvaerner
* 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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