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Whitbread Race: Leg 8
Annapolis to La Rochelle
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Whtibread Winners Paul Cayard and the EF Language Crew Meet the Press

MAY 17, 1998

EF Language
EF Language at the start of Leg 8.

EF Language — Sixth
Finished at 02:37 GMT
(04:37 Local Time)
Elapsed Time — 13 Days, 8 hours, 52 Minutes, 16 Seconds

EF Language Is the Overall Winner of the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race With a Leg to Spare.

This Is a Full Transcript of a Post-Arrival Press Conference.

Paul Cayard
Paul Cayard
PAUL CAYARD — "This was a hard leg for us because we had to have a special position. We had to stay close to Swedish Match and minimise any risk to seal winning The Whitbread. It is a little unexciting and boring but it was the thing to do. We have run a professional campaign on and off the water all the way round. It was hard to do and it is pretty hard to match race when you don't know where your opposition is going. A lot of things go round in your mind when you are out there.

(Magnus Olsson interjection — "Paul would come out and say you have to slow down guys, you are sailing too hard!")

"I really feel good about winning The Whitbread. Magnus (Olsson) deserves to win. I know I am lucky to win this first time out. I have a great crew and a great boat. We do know how to sail even though we are novices at ocean racing.

"We have to complete the last leg according to the rules and we will try to finish The Whitbread as we started — first in, first out.

"I have really enjoyed this thing but I know it would be hard to duplicate it again. You have to know when enough is enough. You have to feel you can walk away from something as a winner. The big issue is my family. Whether I will do the race again is a question I can't answer right now.

"As for winning this race, to me there were a couple of key moments — one was winning the start in the Solent. We didn't do too well in the Fastnet, we didn't use the key sails in that race and we didn't sail well. We were a little unsettled. Then to go on and win the leg was huge. The second most important thing was having the guts to look at ourselves hard in the mirror when we got to Fremantle. Why did things go wrong? The Whitbread is all about the Southern Ocean — you've got to get through it. We had a really hard meeting that morning and it wasn't very pleasant but you have to be able to look in the mirror honestly. We did that and won Leg Five. What we have done since then is diligent homework.

"We haven't had any doses of bad luck, we didn't drop the rig. I am sure there were some things we did badly but in the big picture we did well. To get a fast boat you have to develop some sails and that takes a lot of hard work by some pretty good sailors."

"To win a race before the final leg is a little bit of an anticlimax, but in three weeks time we will remember that we won the Whitbread, the last one.

MAGNUS OLSSON — "It hasn't sunk in yet. I think that before the race we thought our weakness was that we did not have enough Whitbread experience, but that has proved to be our strength. These people don't take anything for granted. In the past, old Whitbread people like me have been thinking this way instead of that way. This crew has taken the Whitbread to another strength."

Cayard and crew
Paul Cayard and his "crew" in La Rochelle.

Cayard then asked his crew their thoughts on the Whitbread and whether they would do another one.

CURTIS BLEWETT — "Yes, I would do it again"

KIMO WORTHINGTON — "No, it's too long. I would like to be involved in another project. You and I are getting too old for this."

MAGNUS OLSSON — "Of course. You will see in four years. I think this win will sink in in Southampton."

CURT OETKING — "It is a pretty interesting experience, but the age factor, for sure, comes into it and you have to be young. My hats are off to those guys at the pointy end of the boat."

JUSTIN CLOUGHER — "I wouldn't miss it for the world. If you go, I will follow. I will do it again."

MARK CHRISTENSEN — "Maybe. I would like to say that it takes 12 people to make a team. These 12 you see here would be the best on any team. To see what it takes to win this is an eye opener. I shall have to see — I have a wife, and we are about to have a third member of the family."

JOSH BELSKY — "I am going to fall asleep and not worry about the rig coming down. I took a look at our group of people last September in Southampton - physically a motley crew and mentally twisted. I really wasn't sure what we were getting into. I knew that we would turn out best and give our all. This group of motley guys is a pretty together unit. To be able to sail 130 days and get off the boat and talk to each other is pretty special.

STEVE ERICKSON — "Paul and I come from a sailing background. We like to play and have spent many years being professional yachtsmen. It can become mundane. My overall impression of the Whitbread is that every day is dynamic. It was really entertaining and psychologically stimulating and I will do another one."

KLAS NYLOF — "Like most of the guys I think it has been a very good race. A little bit harder than I thought it would be. The Whitbread is longer and tougher than I thought. I am definitely going to do another one. Most of the stuff has been said but I have enjoyed it. I am one of the lucky ones to win the first time."

PAUL MURRAY — "I will do my darndest to get on a boat. It was a great opportunity to get off the shoreteam and get on a boat. I would like to say a word for Marco (Constant, who broke his arm on the last leg). It was all his hard work repairing sails in the bilges that got the team here."

MARK RUDIGER — "When I get ashore I don't know my right from my left! This was the race of my life. I have been in this craziness for 20-25 years. The Whitbread is definitely a climax in any sailor's life. The win we have here is due to these 11 heroes. As navigator, I was able to watch and it was a pleasure. I hope I get a chance to experience it again."

Read the article recapping Leg 8 and the Whitbread Victory

Read about the Leg 8 race action in the compelling daily reports from Paul Cayard and his EF Language crew.

View the Leg 8 finish photos.

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