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

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  Where I would really like to be is right next to Swedish Match, but I can't get there very easily. I would have to do a fairly drastic course change because of the way the sail inventory works.
Day 4 - May 6, 1998

Report #2

2124 GMT

Place: 6th; distance behind Swedish Match (1st): 8.1 miles

Miles to La Rochelle: 2,554

From: Paul Cayard, Skipper, EF Language

It is very tricky out here. A few hours ago we got stuck in a hole and watched Toshiba sail over the horizon straight in front of us. Just now, after we thought we had left the Gulf Stream for good, we got 3.5 knots of current going toward 40, which is good. So, there are a lot of seemingly unexplainable gains and losses. Obviously we have taken more losses than gains in the last 24 hours.

Rudi and I are working hard to try to figure out how close to the high pressure one can go. Will the guys out to the South -- Kvaerner, Chessie and Silk -- get too close and stop or will they get through and save all the extra miles?

Where I would really like to be is right next to Swedish Match, but I can't get there very easily. I would have to do a fairly drastic course change because of the way the sail inventory works. So far, we have been making small gains on them. However, they are widening out to the north because they see the hole of the high pressure as a possible parking lot for everyone and, if so, they will skirt around it to the north in win the leg.

One thing that looks certain is that all the boats will end up close to the northern limit zone imposed by the race committee. There will be a lot of fog there because of all the warm air being drawn up by the high-pressure system and there are reports of ice 30 miles south of the upper limit.

This is shaping up to be one of the more difficult legs strategically. You have one of the more complex weather systems we have encountered, coupled with this Gulf Stream, which is now very sporadic. Even locally the wind is shifting through fifty degrees and twenty knots so a lot of work on the crew and helmsman.

It seems pretty sure that by tomorrow we will be getting lifted and lighter and will begin the run around the high and see how close it can be cut without losing too much pressure. We're trying our best to skirt some of the on-board pressure as well. We'll all be a lot happier when we get closer to Swedish Match again.

Paul Cayard

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Leg 8 positions at 0600 GMT today:
      BoatPoints*Position
Overall
      BoatPoints*Position
Overall
  1. Swedish Match
  2. BrunelSunergy
  3. Merit Cup
  4. Toshiba
  5. Innovation Kvaerner
  6. EF Language (P. Cayard, skipper)
  7. Silk Cut
  8. EF Education
  9. Chessie Racing (J. Kostecki, skipper)
700
454
616
440
585
744
503
211
516
2
7
3
8
4
1
6
9
5
* Aggregate points total, including points scored for the earlier legs and points for the current leg according to present positions.


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