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Team EF 2000-Mile Qualifier for Whitbread Round the World Race

GOTHENBERG, Sweden (June 27, 1997) — Team EF completed its 2000 mile qualification race for the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race, June 14-24. The course took the yachts from Gothenberg down to the English Channel, up and around the Faeroe Islands, and back to Gothenberg.

The last night off Oslo, we saw sunset, sunrise and a full moon all at the same time. Truly incredible experiences.
AmericaOne skipper Paul Cayard skippered one of the two yachts and the Team EF women's skipper, Christine Guillou, led the other.

On the first night out, the yachts encountered 45 knots of wind on the nose. The shallow water of the North Sea, just west of Denmark, made the sea extremely rough. The yachts held up well to this test, as did the crew.

After rounding an oil island on the eastern English Channel, the yachts proceeded in lighter air on the third and fourth days, reaching and running up the east coast of Scotland.

Passing the Shetland Islands and heading out into the Atlantic, the yachts met 30 knots of southeasterly wind and a large, confused sea. Continuing on a 340-degree heading, the yachts reached the Faeroe Islands on the fifth day. A strong current made rounding the Faeroe's difficult. The water temperature was 48 degrees Fahrenheit and the air temperature was 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This allowed for testing of our Southern Ocean gear.

The sail back to Fair Isle, just south of Shetland, was mostly a two-sail fetch in 25 knots, a lot of blast reaching and a No. 4 headsail with genoa staysail.

Coming back toward Norway, the yachts encountered a pod of killer whales, 15 or so, and the babies of the group came within two boat lengths of the boats. It was quite an experience.

The last two nights were rather light in terms of wind, while all the nights were light in terms of daylight. The course took us as far north as 63 degrees north latitude, where it is never dark at this time of the year. The last night off Oslo, we saw sunset, sunrise and a full moon all at the same time. Truly incredible experiences.

In the 10 days we encountered all wind speeds, from 0 to 45 knots, and all wind angles. The closeness of the racing allowed for much experimentation and we all learned a lot about the Whitbread 60 class of boat.

The 10 days at sea require working 24 hours a day, learning continuously about sails, watch systems, food planning and nutrition, clothing, and all the boat systems — electrical, navigational, ballast, engine and generator. We came back with quite a few things to be improved. The boats will be based at our Gothenberg base for 10 days, then Team EF will go offshore again July 7-12.

This weekend Team EF will race its two training Whitbread 60s in the Round Gotland Race. This is a 500-mile race featuring 400 competitors. Among those will be Swedish Match, with its 1997 Whitbread boat. It will be very interesting for us to race them and know how they compare to our new boats.

Paul Cayard  



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