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

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  Our mission for this leg is to win the war, not necessarily the battle. We are just hoping it doesn't get too squirrelly coming into La Rochelle tomorrow night.
Day 13 - May 15, 1998

1522 GMT
46° 21'N, 09° 34'W

Place: 6th; distance ahead of Swedish Match (7th): 20 miles

Miles to La Rochelle: 370

From: Paul Cayard, Skipper, EF Language

Out of the light and fluky and into fast track to La Rochelle, 12 knots at the barn right now. 370 miles to go for us, 18 miles more for Swedish Match.

I am watching the battle up front between Toshiba and Silk, just as you are. Toshiba has sailed an excellent race. At first they positioned themselves correctly in the Gulf Stream, then they stayed far enough away from the high pressure off Nova Scotia, something Silk did not do. A week after the start, Toshiba was in a foot race for four days with Merit Cup. As they approached the ridge, Toshiba made the move to the north, obviously a calculated move, and Merit did not. Now Silk and Chessie have come in from the back while we all parked. Always in the lead or very close to it, Toshiba has made about five correct decisions in a row on a very tricky leg. I think they deserve to win this one.

For us, we are still "between the man and the hoop." It is not easy to match-race someone in the ocean for 3,500 miles only knowing their whereabouts once every six hours. But it is the right strategy for us and, now that the course is narrowing, we feel less and less anxiety about their possible routes. Our mission for this leg is to win the war, not necessarily the battle. We are just hoping it doesn't get too squirrelly coming into La Rochelle tomorrow night. The current will be against us, that much we know already.

The girls have sailed an excellent leg and I am happy for them. The EF campaign has been a great opportunity for them and this leg is showing how much they have improved. I am sure La Rochelle will receive them in a huge way.

The forecast for the next 36 hours is northeasterly wind 10-15 knots, getting lighter as we approach land tomorrow night. We should arrive around 02:00 UT on Sunday.

Stevie told me yesterday that Friday would be our last day of food. I did not mind too much because the leg has taken longer than forecast and you have to cut these things close if you are racing. Then he "found" another food bag. The good news is more food. The bad news is that it is Chilli. I don't know if I can afford to eat.

Paul Cayard

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

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