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Whitbread Race: Leg 7
Ft. Lauderdale to Baltimore
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Cayard, EFL Have 104-Point Lead With Two Legs Remaining

APRIL 22, 1998

EF Language
Race leader EF Language
On the strength of today's third-place finish in Leg 7 of the Whitbread Round the World Race, race leader EF Language. skippered by AmericaOne's Paul Cayard, added 81 points to its overall score for a total of 689 points and a 104-point lead over second-place Swedish Match. Just two legs remain in the nine-leg, 32,000-nautical-mile marathon.

As predicted, the relative sprint from Ft. Lauderdale to Baltimore was a closely contested leg, with winner BrunelSunergy holding off Swedish Match and EF Language for its first victory in the months-long event. The Dutch boat won by a 20-minute margin, scoring 105 points for an overall total of 353 points.

In a battle reminiscent of Leg 3, the Swedish boats EF Language and Swedish Match changed places throughout the day as they match-raced up Chesapeake Bay to the finish. But Swedish Match reversed the previous outcome, besting EF Language by a slim 30 seconds. Cayard and EF Language have won three of the seven legs: 1, 3 and 5.

Despite it's relative short length, this was nonetheless a punishing leg for the boats and crew as they sailed in the notorious Gulf Stream. In one of his reports, Cayard wrote:

The waves are short and steep. The slamming is getting intense for the hull and the rig. Riding this bronco is a workout on deck, as well as in the bunks . . . better on deck.

Later, he wrote:

We are basically leaping off 10-foot waves at 10 knots and landing very hard. How the mast doesn't just keep going through the bottom I don't know.

Moreover, the crew was in full-race mode, meaning they got little sleep during the four-day leg.

(See Paul Cayard's Whitbread Log for the complete series of these intriguing first-hand accounts.)

The 3,390-nm Leg 8, Annapolis to La Rochelle, France, begins May 3 and is expected to finish about May 16. The final, 450-nm leg, La Rochelle to Southampton, England, is set to begin on May 22 and the nine-boat fleet is expected to finish on May 24.

Don't miss the online conference with Paul Cayard at the Baltimore Cyber Cafe on Saturday, April 25, at 3:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. The conference link will be on the Whitbread Web site forum page.

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