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

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  The boat hit 20 knots once or twice. That was a bit of fun, but not a lot of excitement so far on this leg. ... We are certainly not setting any transatlantic records out here, just plodding along at 12-13 knots.
Day 5 - May 7, 1998

1207 GMT
41° 38'N, 060° 53'W

Place: 4th; distance ahead of Swedish Match (9th): 23 miles

Miles to La Rochelle: 2,537

From: Paul Cayard, Skipper, EF Language

We had another little bit of fun last night at 02:00 local. We were sailing along in 18 knots of wind doing 13 knots when Rudi heard a thud and then the boat began vibrating. The boat speed droped by a knot immediately, so we began to look for the problem. Rudi and Klebbe check the keel, rudder and propeller shaft. This was not easy, as it was dark, so the water apears black in through our viewing windows. Finally, the problem was identified -- another man in a grey suit was stuck to the keel. Just like on Leg 5, but then it was the rudder. These seem to be pretty lame sharks if they can get hit by a boat doing 13 knots. Maybe they sleep? Anyway, we had to drop the genoa and completely stop, back down and clear him off.

It has been smooth sailing for the last 12 hours. Yesterday afternoon we got 25 knots of wind and did a little bit of junior-league fire hosing. The boat hit 20 knots once or twice. That was a bit of fun, but not a lot of excitement so far on this leg.

The temperature is getting colder now: water=58F, so the guys are getting their mid layers on. Fog and ice are waiting for us up at 46 north where the fleet will be pushed to skirt over the top of the high-pressure system. We are certainly not setting any transatlantic records out here, just plodding along at 12-13 knots.

I made the mush this morning and, unfortunately, did a good job. Stevie really liked it because it wasn't completely mixed, so it had some "mush balls" in it. We do have some humidity-laden brown sugar to go with our powdered milk. Actually, at this point, we should just be thankfull we have a water maker to make the mush.

I am starting to think that the high pressure may not be the road block that we thought it would be, so Merit and some of the boats who have sailed the shorter course toward the center of the high may not get slowed down they way we anticipated. Yesterday we were very concerned that that may be the case and, therefore, were very concerned about getting north to Swedish. Still, all our information is just forecasts and, as usual, we will have to wait and see how it plays out. And since nothing is for sure, we will stay right here next to Swedish Match.

Paul Cayard

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Leg 8 positions at 0600 GMT today:
      BoatPoints*Position
Overall
      BoatPoints*Position
Overall
  1. Merit Cup
  2. Toshiba
  3. Innovation Kvaerner
  4. EF Language (P. Cayard, skipper)
  5. BrunelSunergy
  6. Silk Cut
  7. Chessie Racing (J. Kostecki, skipper)
  8. EF Education
  9. Swedish Match
642
464
608
766
419
514
538
211
607
2
7
3
1
8
6
5
9
4
* Aggregate points total, including points scored for the earlier legs and points for the current leg according to present positions.


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