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Whitbread Log: Leg 1 to Cape Town
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Day 27 - October 17, 1997

17:19 GMT - 33° 48'S, 005° 36'W

Miles to Cape Town: 1,195

Place: 1st; distance ahead of 2nd-place boat: 113 miles

From: Paul Cayard, skipper EF Language

sail repair
S eems like someone is smiling on us. Just when I thought the wind would lighten up and slow us down, it picked up again. Today, a real nice breeze from 300-32- degrees is blowing at 20-25 knots. We are making a 16 knots average. I am not sure our competitors are benefitting from the same strength. Again, it is the southern component of our position that is giving us this breeze.

I am looking for a solid 320-325 wind direction to gybe on. One was supposed to be forthcoming this afternoon, but 'til now we have not gotten it. I am getting a little concerned of being invested so far to the south as the layline approaches. The routing software says we should bang this corner hard, but that is just based on a weather forecast . . . nothing is for sure. I like to be between the man and hoop.

We did a little damage during our 798-mile run in 48 hours. We had three ORs going, one putting a cast on the masthead unit again, one doing major plastic surgery to a spinnaker for severe facial lacerations, and one doing some machining and glassology. After 30 hours of repairs, mostly to sails, we are now 100 percent again.

Seeing a lot of birds now below 30 degrees south. Albatross mostly, but some other smaller birds, too.

Our router thinks we will get to Cape Town Tuesday morning. That would be fine with me. These waves are all starting to look alike. Surfing is fun, but how much hill can you ski down without sitting down on the chairlift for a rest?

The start and the first few days of the race seem like a completely different race. The strategies and thoughts of that time are completely irrelevant now.

Looks like we have enough food, thanks to the good speed of the last few days.

Paul Cayard
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