Collins, crew enjoy 'wild, scary' ride Maryland boat in 4th place

Chessie update

January 07, 1998|By BRUCE STANNARD | BRUCE STANNARD,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SYDNEY, Australia - It sounds like Chessie Racing skipper George Collins is having the time of his life on Leg 4 of the Whitbread Round the World race, with "a wild and scary" run under spinnaker in 32 knots of wind, blasting across the Tasman Sea from Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand.

Although Chessie was lying in fourth position, about 33 miles astern of leader Swedish Match, Collins' report yesterday to race headquarters indicates he is having a ball.

"The wind just reached 26 knots," he said, "and the big sea monster [Chessie] surged ahead at 16 knots. Chessie likes the gain, and we need gains to go track down those other guys. One is in our sights now. The flaming tongue shoots out when Chessie gets close. I can't tell you how far the flame goes. That is a state secret.

"We are now 524 miles from our mark, Cape Reinga, and we are to the right of our intended line, hoping for a further shift," he reported. "Last night, we went from port to starboard jibe. We also blew up our Code 3 [spinnaker], but [sailmaker] Stu Wilson is hard at work sewing it up and assures us it will fly again in one piece in the next battle.

"You need all the weapons you can get to stay competitive with this fleet," Collin said. "Last night we saw winds as high as 32 knots, but only briefly. Gavin Brady is driving just now at 20 knots. He says he is not sure he can go back to a boat without water ballast. I told him to wait until the next leg when he is flying at 30 plus in the Southern Ocean."

Paul Cayard's report from Sweden's EF Language reflected his frustration at the vagaries of wind and weather that have wiped out his early lead and banished him to near the back of the pack.

Cayard, who has paid a big price for going far south, reported, "We were right alongside Silk Cut and Chessie, and Chessie just sailed away in some other breeze. . . . We are pretty frustrated at watching our good position from Day 1 just go steadily down."

Pub Date: 1/07/98

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