Cayard rides stormy weather to take command EF Language overtakes 14-day leader Kvaerner

Week in review

October 15, 1997

EF Language, with American skipper Paul Cayard, has started to pull away from the fleet in the Whitbread Round the World Race for the Volvo Trophy as the yachts turn from a remote island in the western South Atlantic toward Cape Town, South Africa, still more than 2,000 miles away.

Innovation Kvaerner (Norway), which had led since the fleet was off the Bay of Biscay in the Northern Hemisphere, has fallen to third place, close behind Merit Cup (Monaco). Silk Cut (Britain) is fourth, about 216 miles behind the leader, and Chessie Racing (Maryland) is in fifth, about 72 miles farther back.

Cayard and navigator Mark Rudiger seem to have made all the right moves since Saturday, when the Swedish boat rode a small localized low pressure system and sailed around Innovation Kvaerner.

EF Language sailed into the lead some 100 miles north of the island of Trinidade, the second turning mark on the leg to Cape Town.

"We tacked 10 times, shifting all the sails and all the stores [below decks] each time," Cayard said of a crucial, 6-hour period on Saturday. "We changed sails seven times, using everything from our lightest jib to our heaviest spinnaker. We could see the squall clouds around us, and we just tried to keep on the good side of them."

While EF Language worked through the squally weather -- blowing out one sail and losing masthead instruments in the process -- Merit Cup and Innovation Kvaerner struggled.

"It's a harsh and cruel race, as I am sure [Innovation Kvaerner] is thinking this morning, with us alongside of them, having been 15 miles ahead last night," Merit Cup skipper Grant Dalton reported.

"EF [has] done nice work ," Dalton said. "But now the race starts in earnest, and with the changeable weather ahead it would be a brave man who would write off anyone -- even those well behind at this stage."

Pub Date: 10/15/97

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