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Whitbread Log: Leg 1 to Cape Town
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Day 28 - October 18, 1997

07:22 GMT - 35° 38'S, 001° 41'E

Miles to Cape Town: 678

Place: 1st; distance ahead of 2nd-place boat: 112 miles

From: Paul Cayard, skipper EF Language

Report from Waterworld — The Real Deal

The fire company is still practicing on us. I'd say we have four trucks, a hook and ladder, three choppers, and one Hughes seaplane pumping water at us. The good news is that this means we are still hauling the mail to Cape Town. We are going to do another 100 miles at the barn on this sked. The boat is clean. We are even semi-clean.

The second low is more intense than the first and we are squarely in front of it. The cycle for us is wind from the north as the low is to the west of us. Winds backing to the west and even southwest as it goes over us, which will happen relatively slowly, as we are averaging 17 knots to the east ourselves. This will push us a good bit of the way home.

The other thing I realized this last few days is that the Earth is a big place.

07:22 GMT - 35° 28'S, 000° 41'E

Miles to Cape Town: 879

Place: 1st; distance ahead of 2nd-place boat: 115 miles

The grib can't seem to keep up with the wind speed from a new low coming from the west. This low is bringing Toshiba, Chessie and Silk Cut a bit closer to the front three on each sked.

Eventually the wind will get to the front of the pack and we expect once again that there will be more to the south. This is the reason that EF Language is hanging out down here.

The wind shift of last night to 340 degrees got us all onto port tack and, in fact, we are reaching quite hard at Cape Town averaging 19 knots with a fractional kite on.

Kvaerner gybed a bit before us last night, made a better track toward Cape Town and, therefore, cut miles off us on the sked. The boats sailed a parallel course from 0000 to 0600. However, in actual miles sailed, EF Language gained 3.5 miles on Kvaerner. Because of EF's more southerly position, a parallel course low of the mark, even just five degrees, nets out better for the boat to the north.

We feel that the south is our best guarantee of holding wind and, therefore, avoiding the possibility of sailing into lighter breeze first. At some point, though, we will have to arch up in front of Kvaerner and Merit to get to the barn. When [we do it] is something that I have to figure out. Rudiger is doing his usual extra-thorough job of gathering information.

On board, the psychology of the crew has gone from rehabilitation after the fire hose treatment of a few days ago to full race. The main is getting pumped and the spinnaker sheet is getting worked just like it did out of the start at Southampton. It is interesting as skipper to watch the physical and mental damage that a big blow can inflict on the crew. Definitely something to be monitored and managed.

Speaking of fire hoses, while we don't have the full fire district in like three days ago, we do have one company in with about three hoses on the deck right now.

Paul Cayard
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