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

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Previous Report

  It was about 1 am when Rudi's voice came over the intercom declaring that we had just "tied the knot". What he meant was that we had just crossed our track from Leg One, signifying our circumnavigation.
Day 14 - May 16, 1998

0900 GMT
46° 17'N, 006#176; 10'W

Place: 6th; distance ahead of Swedish Match (7th): 22 miles

Miles to La Rochelle: 204

From: Josh Belsky, Mastman, EF Language

Well, it's a foggy North Atlantic morning and we just finished our last serving of porridge, or as Paul so affectionately refers to it, "mush".

Sailing on the Tube The last 24 hours have remained fairly stable in that not much has changed out here. As I'm sure you all well know, we are still fully immersed in our match race with the Blue boat. We've averaged a gain of 1 mile per sked in the last three and currently sit 22 miles due east of Swedish Match. Rudi says we have about 18 hours to go, so if we can hold them off till then, we should be in pretty good shape.

Right now, we have the "anaconda" up and are averaging about twelve knots at the barn. Hopefully the wind will hold through the evening and we won't have to try drifting through the swift currents just outside of La Rochelle.

Last night, we, the boys of the EFL, crossed a major milestone in both this race and in our lives. It was about 1 am when Rudi's voice came over the intercom declaring that we had just "tied the knot". What he meant was that we had just crossed our track from Leg One, signifying our circumnavigation, although we have not yet reached England.

This, of course, called for a fair share of reflection over the events that have taken place in the last 14 months. We all agreed that it was pretty freaky to think that five months ago, we were in Sydney on this very same little yellow boat . . . on the other side of the world . . . upside down . . . and we didn't fall off!! Basically the concept that this little yellow plastic boat has stayed under our feet for 30,000+ miles feels pretty cool to all of us.

Yup, our big adventure is soon coming to a close. We've all experienced a lot together, but the thing that amazes me the most is our ability to remain a cohesive unit. I mean picture this: you go camping for ten months in a stripped down Winnebago with eleven of your buddies. Could make for some pretty tense moments, huh?

Well, we've done it, and we're all still smiling. Sure there've been some moments, but I think that as we all got to know each other better, we grew to accept one another's different quirks or idiosyncrasies. Losing Marco for this last leg has really made me realize something that I think I've been taking for granted. This group of odd looking, various sized and shaped, mix of buoy racers, offshore veterans, and knuckleheads, has become a team. The motley, 16-1 long shot, looking bunch that we were back in September, had actually come of age. I can honestly say that I have truly enjoyed being a part of this crew. Every day has been a great day, even the really shitty ones.

As May 24 closes in on us, we all speak about how anxious we are to have a vacation or get back to our lives. To me, this is all "tough talk", though. Sure, "tomorrow", when we wake up in our own beds in Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, we'll feel totally comfortable, warm, and relaxed; but I say give it a week. Give it a week until we all miss the hectic schedule, the boat maintenance, our tiny wet bunks, Leonardo de Fettucini, the "firehose", and a gimballed toilet.

This has been a life experience for each and every one of us . . . one we'll never forget once we're back in our own real worlds. Klabbe will return to Sweden to star in his own TV mini-series, "The Return of MacGyver". Magnus will get back to writing his memoirs entitled, "The World's Happiest Guy". Curtis will go on to become the first person to climb Everest backwards, aided by nitrous oxide. Juggy is destined to complete the first in-flight brain surgery on board a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. Crusty will start a school for public speaking, specializing in "how to be heard in large groups of people". I will return to a life of riding wild bulls in rodeos for the handicapped. Stevie goes back to teaching his jazz aerobics class, "Sweatin' to the Oldies with Stevie Wonder", in The Dalles, Oregon. Kimo can be seen down at Pier 39 in San Fran. selling the worlds most exotic coffees from his deluxe cart. Marco becomes the 1998-99 Oakley poster-boy. Curt will be starring in the sequel to the box office smash "Beetlejuice". Rudi will take over as the new host of the ever-popular American show, "Mystery Science Theater 2000". And last but not least, Paul will return to the rigors of wearing #23 for the Chicago Bulls, as he prepares for the 1998 NBA playoffs.

It's been a great ride. Thanks for following us so closely and helping to make the 1997-98 Whitbread race a success for everyone.


Previous Report

Leg 8 positions at 0600 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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