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Whitbread Log: Leg 1 to Cape Town
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Day 29 - October 19, 1997

12:00 GMT - 35° 57'S, 008° 29'E

Miles to Cape Town: 505

Place: 1st; distance ahead of 2nd-place boat: 109 miles

From: Paul Cayard, skipper EF Language

Another couple of hundred miles under the keel — 385 to go. These miles seem to take forever, but actually we are lucky. We have breeze now and it looks as if we will have at least some breeze right into the finish.

The guys behind will compress on us due to the fact that there will be less wind closer to shore. There will also be a big slow shift to the southwest as we approach the high pressure off the west coast of Africa.

A long day today. Variable winds kept us changing sails to try to stay on course — 18 knots one minute, 30 the next. Strange that it could be so variable out here in the middle of nowhere.

Curtis Blewitt, one of our bowman, had to free climb from the hounds to the masthead — 20 feet at an altitude of 75 feet above deck — as our only free halyard was jammed up at the top. He is a tough young kid, but I decided never to let him do that again. It just isn't worth it if something were to happen.

The crew is pretty tired. I think the nutrition is one big factor. Also, these boats are very physical. The beating we take when the fire hose is turned on is punishing. It adds up and after the yuks and giggles, you're left beat to a pulp.

A lot more wildlife down here. Dolphin and huge albatross, wingspan 3 meters. Watching them run on the water to take off is an incredible sight.

Looking forward to some rest. Should be in a real bed on Tuesday night latest.

12:00 GMT

Miles to Cape Town: 600

Just a Fastnet to go — 600 miles. Less than a Bermuda Race. Nothing really. Strange how your perspective changes.

The top three are still making good progress to the finish line. The low-pressure system is hanging longer than expected and pushing us to Cape Town way faster than expected.

With the low hanging around longer, so are the northwesterlies, which are letting Kvaerner and Merit sail lower and faster than us as they are to the north. Just goes to show you that nothing is for sure. Still, Kvaerner and Merit have gained just 6 miles on us in the last 24 hours.

Watching the sked, we see that Toshiba, Chessie, and Silk Cut are starting to lose. This means they have been spit out the back of the low and are probably sailing in lighter southwesterlies. We are waiting for our nearest friends to show signs of the same before us as we are some 120 miles southeast of them.

No matter what, we are now positioned more between the man and the hoop, and that is probably smart, even though it isn't the most glamorous.

The on-board lottery for the ETA closed last night at 20:00 UT — $10 a pick, closest to the finish time wins, winner takes all, as usual.

Clicking them off at about 100 miles/sked. Probably will get a little lighter. You figure it out.

If you want to buy advice from me for your ETA lottery back home or at the office, send the request and $100 cash to 1-800-Luggage. If you want advice from Mark Rudiger, send $500 cash. If you want advice from Stevie Erickson, send 50 Big Macs and 20 9-piece Chicken McNuggets.

Paul Cayard

Note: Paul Cayard on CNN Headlines News, Sunday, Oct. 19: "It's difficult being the leader because you have to lead."

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