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

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  Right now we are trying to squeeze around to leeward of Verne but south of the 46N limit line. It will be a close race to see if they can close us out at the wall or if we will make it through.
Day 7 - May 9, 1998

Report #2

1812 GMT
45° 56'N, 046° 31'W

Place: 4th; distance ahead of Swedish Match (7th): 15 miles

Miles to La Rochelle: 1,862

From: Paul Cayard, Skipper, EF Language

Almost through the danger zone. In four or five hours we will pass 46N, 45W and leave behind the area of floating ice. We have been very lucky so far. We have had smooth seas, so easy to spot small ice, no dense fog, and most of the danger during daylight. A few boats have seen ice. We have not, yet.

In the last 24 hours, we have passed Brunel and EF Education and are closing in on Verne. All the boats have gone very similar speed in these smooth seas and moderate winds. The north has been a little better than the south, but nothing like the forecast predicted. I would say that Silk and Chessie were very lucky the high decided to migrate east. The fleet is compressing and will continue to do so for the next 18 hours as the stronger wind fills from behind.

The next few days look like a bit more wind, but from the westerly quadrant, so no big fire hosing in the near future. There are a number of small weather systems, both highs and lows with associated fronts, working their way across the Atlantic over the next four days. There will be a number of wind shifts and no doubt the fleet will spread out.

It will be hard to cover Swedish like a book, so we will do our best race with a tendency to stay in their same area code at least. Earlier, when we tried to cover them tightly, it was frustrating because for the first time on board we had the feeling we did not know where we were going or what we were doing next. The crew thinks Rudi and I should lay out our best game and go with that, for better or worse.

Life on board is pretty easy, a little anxious for the ice, but a smooth ride. We have the flu going through the boat. Curtis brought it and is almost done, Curt caught it and is mid way through, and I am just starting. This sickness thing on a boat is a real problem because we are living so close together.

The temperature never got real cold like Leg 2 or 5. The water temperature got down to 39F in the heart of the Labrador current this morning. It is now back up to 44F and, with the wind from aft of the beam, the wind chill is not too bad.

So, right now we are trying to squeeze around to leeward of Verne but south of the 46N limit line. It will be a close race to see if they can close us out at the wall or if we will make it through. Just one of the many battles ahead.

To all our wives and families I would say we are not completely out of the woods yet but the worst is over and by midnight tonight we will be out. Hang in there!

Paul Cayard

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Leg 8 positions at 1800 GMT today:
  1. Toshiba
  2. Merit Cup
  3. Innovation Kvaerner
  4. EF Language (P. Cayard, skipper)
  5. EF Education
  6. BrunelSunergy
  7. Swedish Match
  8. Silk Cut
  9. Chessie Racing (J. Kostecki, skipper)
* Aggregate points total, including points scored for the earlier legs and points for the current leg according to present positions.

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