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

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  We slowly drew up within shouting distance to have Verne relentlessly sag upon our wind. With a couple of well-timed waves, and a slight luff into the wind . . . Language planed effortlessly ahead, doing 18 knots of boat speed!
Day 8 - May 10, 1998

2135 GMT
45° 25'N, 037° 59'W

Place: 3rd; distance ahead of Swedish Match (6th): 21 miles

Miles to La Rochelle: 1,524

From: Steve Erickson, Watch Captain, EF Language

Smooth sailing since midnight last night. Wind in the mid-20s, and for those of us who haven't been in some wind for a while, a few anxious moments. Nothing like a few hours of frothing through the waves to make you stick out your chest and scream, "BRING IT ON!" (well, maybe not that much!)

Ice Zone is well behind us now. Amazing how quick the water temperature returned from its chilling 39 degrees Fahrenheit to a balmy 59! Everyone has shed at least a layer (from a thick 4 or 5 layers of the highest tech thermal protection sport can find still allowing the chills of Mother Nature to seep within). Hats and gloves are a thing of the coolest midnight hours. Soup consumption is way down. Fist fights that were breaking out for the grinding handles — to keep chilled bones warm — have subsided. Curtis stays the warmest, he's the best brawler!

Had a good tussle with "Verne" [Kvaerner] last night as it began to get dark. Verne swooped down upon us from the south, as we reached precariously close to the "no sail" zone imposed by the race committee to keep us out of the Titanic-sinking iceberg area. We slowly drew up within shouting distance to have Verne relentlessly sag upon our wind. With a couple of well-timed waves, and a slight luff into the wind — these boats generate so much speed, that the apparent wind shifts forward the 10 degrees needed to bring breaths of fresh air from out in front of Verne — Language planed effortlessly ahead, doing 18 knots of boat speed!

Today we find ourselves in third place. "Shiba" and "Merit" have gained a bit. We are presently 3 miles ahead of Verne, after spending all day within a mile or two. A forecasted front was to appear in the area about 3 this afternoon, giving us something to jibe on and center ourselves in front of those behind (namely "Match").

Those behind did jibe, as of the morning sched. Very anxious moments aboard EF as the shift never materialized . . . allowing Match to conceivably get a lot of separation to the north, while we were forced to plod on to the south. A more recent sched has confirmed that Match and the fleet have returned to the southern route, and the "ducks are now getting in line." EF Education and Chessie plod on north, ever dangerously close to an approaching high, with "vacuum-like" consequences!

Wooooooooowwwwww . . . got to go . . . time to jibe!!!

I'm back . . . thump,thump,thump . . . heart going. Jibing can always have horrific consequences when maneuvering in 25 knots of wind. Went smooooooooooooooth as silk (no Lawrie intended)!

Verne? . . . Gone. Like two ships passing in the night. Funny how you spend 24 hours racing intently another boat, then . . . poof! . . . they're gone, faster than you can bat an eyelash.

Alone again, pushing on, and on, and on . . .

It's hard as the end of this race approaches for our thoughts not to shift to our next project. We were talking about America's Cup and saying how much our friend Russell Coutts, the Team New Zealand skipper, would like it out here. As many of you know he's a keen fisherman and with so many of his favourite quarry out here, namely the North Atlantic dolphin fish, or Mahi Mahi, he would be loving it. Ah, but I digress, must get back to racing the boat.


Before I forget: To all the fine mothers out there, from the kids of EF . . . HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!

With much love from the EF Language:

    Francis...from Paul C.
    Mom...from Mark R.
    Anna-Maja...from Magnus.
    Patsy...from Kimo.
    Mamma Jude...from Stevie Wonder.
    Marilyn...from Crusty.
    Clare...from Curt.
    Alison...from Paul M.
    Deb...from Josh.
    Ulla...from Klabbe.
    Judy...from Curtis.
    Margaret...from Justin.

Thanks for allowing us all to be out here! See you soon!!!

"Stevie Wonder"

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Leg 8 positions at 2400 GMT today:
  1. Toshiba
  2. Merit Cup
  3. EF Language (P. Cayard, skipper)
  4. Innovation Kvaerner
  5. EF Education
  6. Swedish Match
  7. BrunelSunergy
  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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