Whitbread Log: Leg 1 to Cape Town
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
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
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.