Cayard, EF Language Second, Increase Overall Lead to 115 Pts.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida March 29, 1998
Paul Cayard takes a bearing.
It was not what race leader Paul Cayard wanted but it was certainly preferable to several other scenarios that could just have easily come to pass in this Leg 6 of the Whitbread Round the World Race. (Click on the photos to view larger images.)
Cayard and EF Language crossed the Leg 6 finish line at 1513 GMT (10:13 a.m. local time) in second place, one hour and 18 minutes behind leg winner Silk Cut. They completed the 4,750-nautical-mile passage from São Sebastião, Brazil, in 14 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes.
"We had an opportunity to win this leg and did not," Cayard wrote in his final daily report from sea. "I am not happy about that. However, the big picture is getting increasingly bright as we beat both Swedish Match and Merit Cup, who are the real contenders in this race."
Indeed. Cayard and crew increased their overall lead over second-place Swedish Match to 115 points, up 19 points from the 96-point margin over the now-third place Merit Cup at the end of Leg 5.
It's an enviable position, but Cayard, a veteran campaigner and skipper and CEO of the AmericaOne Challenge, does not lean toward complacency. Two of the final three legs Ft. Lauderdale to Baltimore and La Rochelle to Southampton are virtual day-sails compared to the 4,000- to 6,000-nautical-mile passages of the earlier legs. A small error could result in a large point swing in either direction because there will be little time in which to catch up.
EF Language in the home stretch off the coast of Florida.
This reality is not lost on Cayard.
"The next leg, to Baltimore, will be real close and probably tricky,
especially the last 120 miles up the Chesapeake Bay. Anything could
happen there," he wrote as EF Language crossed the Gulf Stream to Ft. Lauderdale.
The outcome of Leg 6 illustrates the point. Cayard had an 18-mile lead with 1,800 miles remaining when Silk Cut found a passing lane to the east. Cayard managed to close the gap to 2.6 miles two days later, but was never able to get through the door. He feels fortunate that no other competitors slipped by.
With a faster-than-expected Leg 6, the EF Language crew gets a full three weeks ashore for rest, recuperation and refitting before starting the estimated three-day, 870-nautical-mile hop to Baltimore, Maryland, on April 19.
Kostecki Moves Up
AmericaOne tactician John Kostecki, skipper of Chessie Racing, passed sixth-place Toshiba on the approach to Ft. Lauderdale to eke out a slim two-mile lead in the home stretch. If he hangs on, it will move the American boat into fourth place in the overall standings.
John Kostecki at the helm of Chessie Racing.
Leg 8, Baltimore to La Rochelle, France, starts May 3 and will take an estimated two weeks to complete. The Whitbread Race concludes with the anticipated finish of Leg 9 on May 25 in Southampton, England.
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