Leg 5 stress takes its toll on Md. crew THE WHITBREAD WATCH

March 11, 1998|By GILBERT A. LEWTHWAITE | GILBERT A. LEWTHWAITE,SUN FOREIGN STAFF

SAO SEBASTIAO, Brazil - The average weight loss among the crew of Chessie Racing during their 26 days at sea between Auckland, New Zealand, and this sweltering port was 6.6 pounds.

Jerry Kirby, 42, a bowman on the 60-foot racer, lost the most, weighing in here 16 pounds lighter than when he set out on the 6,670-mile Leg 5 of the nine-leg Whitbread Round the World Race.

For several days, Kirby, who has one of the most strenuous jobs on the boat, handling foresails, was without his partner after Annapolis' Greg Gendell, 29, sustained a gash in his leg to the bone when a wave washed him into the mast.

Surprisingly, Chessie's other bowman, Rick Deppe, who also has to clamber up the 85-foot mast to strop off sails or handle other problems aloft, had below-average loss.

Deppe, 33, a slightly built figure, lost 5 pounds. He attributed the loss to "worry rather than bad diet."

He is the boat's mechanic, and it was his job to try to repair the auxiliary motor when it broke down, depriving Chessie use of its desalination system, which turns sea water into fresh water.

For nearly six days the crew was without an adequate supply of water, unable to use its freeze-dried high-calorie food, and survived on cookies.

The average weight loss on the passage through the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn exceeded the 4.5-pound goal set for the crew by its physician, Rudi Rodriguez. Weight loss is inevitable on long legs because, to save weight, the boats do not carry sufficient calories to compensate for the energy exerted by the crew.

"You are working so hard, there is no way you can eat enough to put the calories in [to replace the calories] you are burning," Kirby said. "It's cold and so physical that you are in a losing situation."

Pub Date: 3/11/98

Standings

Boat (Country).. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Pts.

EF Language (Sweden).. .. .. .. .. ...507

Merit Cup (Monaco) . .. .. .. .. .. ..411

Swedish Match (Sweden) .. .. .. .. ...404

Chessie Racing (U.S.).. .. .. .. .. ..399

Innovation Kvaerner (Norway) .. .. ...372

Toshiba (U.S.) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..299

Silk Cut (Britain) .. .. .. .. .. .. .284

BrunelSunergy (Netherlands) .. .. .. .215

EF Education (Sweden) .. .. .. .. .. .126

America's Challenge (U.S.)** .. .. .. .48

**Withdrew from race

More coverage

Television: Saturday, 1 a.m., Whitbread Race Show, ESPN;

Tuesday, 1 p.m., Whitbread Race Show, ESPN.

Internet: For more of The Sun's coverage of the Whitbread, go to www.sunspot.net/whitbread/. Other sites include www.whitbread.org www.us.net/whitbread/

Pub Date: 3/11/98

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