Match race nightmare

Three boats are now neck and neck just 23 miles behind illbruck

Monday February 18th 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: Transoceanic
Email from Paul Cayard aboard Amer Sports One

Patience is a virtue

Another beautiful day in paradise out here. Trade winds sailing. We have 18 knots [wind] from the south, smooth seas, sunshine, sun lube, no shirts and 13 knots average [speed] at the barn [finish line]. It doesn't get any better than this, if you like sailing.

Beef dill with mashed potatoes was the menu for lunch with six pills as an appetizer. What we eat and drink out here is freeze-dried and desalinated water and as such is lacking in the necessary electrolytes and minerals that we all get ashore. Furthermore, our bodies are sleep deprived and we burn more calories than we take in... I think I have lost five kilos in the three weeks we have been out here. The pills are to replenish the magnesium, zinc and a few other million things that we are lacking out here.

People have lost their hair out here due to these depletions! On the last lap with EF [in the previous Round the World Race] we had a doctor, Stefan Branth, who did research on us by taking blood and hair samples before and after the legs and through that he found out all of our depletions. So the recipe of pills we are taking this time is his concoction. We take 12 pills per day.

The last few skeds have made our easterly approach strategy look pretty good, with us gaining 10 miles or so and getting back into second place. We think the boats inshore have had more adverse current. On this very last sked (1600) we lost of couple of miles to Tyco and a bit more to Assa Abloy and djuice. We are a bit more lifted than predicted and we are locked in our lanes to the finish. So our fate lies in getting the wind to go left, which is a bit tardy in doing this, according to the forecasts and gribs.

Patience. That is a virtue needed out here. Then for the last 50 miles, the forecast is for very light gradient winds so we will be effected a lot by whatever is going on in Rio, which could be thunderstorms etc. In any case, it doesn't look like anyone's finishing position will be secured until they cross the finish line... amazing after 7000 miles and three weeks!

After being out here for three weeks, you realise you have forgotten about what is going on in the world. The Winter Olympics would have started by now... maybe they finished. I don't know. Where is Osama [bin Laden]? Is that still a popular subject? Probably for G.W. But the real question is, 'Who is winning the Star Masters Regatta in Miami?' I lent my new Folli Star boat to my father in-law, Pelle Petterson, as my present to him for his 70th. 'Hollywood' Hal Haenel is crewing for him.

On a final note, I want to say that my sailing with Grant Dalton has been excellent. He is a great leader...strong but fair, fun personality, decisive and humble. He also knows how to lead by example, which is key in any project. When we discussed this project in September of 2000 with Leonardo Ferragamo, German Frers and Grant, we all decided we would not do it if we could not start building the boat by mid-October. The boat did not start until after Christmas. It was mission impossible to put the project together so late. Who would work for such a project? How would we develop sails? Who would be on the crew? The bottom line is that Grant took it on and without him none of this would have been possible.

Now, the boat improves by the day. We are pleased with the way we have sailed the boat on this leg. The finish of this leg may be tricky and the outcome may depend a bit more on luck than skill. Let's face it, illbruck deserves to win the leg, but sailing is not always straightforward. What is important for the Nautor Challenge is that we are 3/4 of the way around the world and less than half the points have been awarded and my feeling is that this boat and this team can win it all. That is excellent, all things considered.

It seems like we have just sailed a long way but the race is far from over.

and later....

Well the wind just died where we are. Much less than the GRIBs or any other map we have said. Not a good sign. Could be painful on the next sked. The header we were waiting for never came either. Roger [Nilson] says the high-pressure system we are riding is not moving east and therefore our wind is not heading.

The fast ride just slowed way down.

Page four.... Email from Emma Westmacott aboard Amer Sports Too
Page five... Email from Ray Davies aboard illbruck

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