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15 February 2002, 12:09 pm
Email From Paul Cayard
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Volvo Ocean Race

<I>We just spent 6 hours becalmed. I think it will have happened to a few others also but maybe not all. A low bubble formed right over us today and inside it there was no wind here.</I>

This is not uncommon around this area. We have the tail of the Brazilian current converging here with the Falklands current...bad stuff happens here all the time. These things have the potential to change the face of the leg. If it had squatted on illbruck we would have had a restart. It seems like it landed on Tyco and us the most, so illbruck is sprung further ahead and News Corp and djuice have caught up to us.

We are looking at the brand new weather map for that time (one hour old, so after we were already sitting becalmed) and they show nothing but a nice southwesterly gradient of about 17 knots. This is where a bit of luck comes in handy. We shall see on the sked how bad the damage was but for sure we lost to some.

When you are becalmed, you work really hard, believe it or not. You change sails, stack and unstack, look for breeze by sending guys up the rig...it is not an idle time. It is a desperate time. You know you are losing to someone at the rate of 14 miles per hour. You have to find a way out and most of the time there is nothing you can do but wait for Mother Nature to take her course. She has now and we are off again doing 15 knots at the barn.

This southerly flowing current is a real menace for the fleet. It is like the Gulf Stream off the east coast of the USA. There are meanders and cold spots without the adverse current. It flows southwest and some areas and southeast in others. There are some areas of no adverse current. Weaving your way through that is not an exact science and this too can have a big effect on the rest of this leg. We have some infrared pictures but they are not instantaneous but rather five day averages.

Onboard we continue to dry out. Many of us have minor salt-water sores and infections from having damp socks and gloves on for so long. I am hoping the air does these sores some good before the humidity of Rio increases the infection. Not fun to have to make the doctor the first visit in Rio.

In the big picture, all is well onboard Amer Sports One.

Paul Cayard/News Editor
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