Yachting: Camper back in the game

A light hearted moment aboard Camper. Photo / Camper Team NZ
A light hearted moment aboard Camper. Photo / Camper Team NZ

Camper have made up some of the ground they lost last weekend, and have moved up to third as they sail close to the Vietnam coast in rough conditions.

The Team New Zealand crew lost significant ground in the weekend when they made a tactical error and opted to pursue a coastal route around the Malaysian coastline in search of better breeze but lost more than 50 miles to Puma, Telefonica and Groupama who were all further out to sea.

Camper have once again committed to heading inshore and are sailing towards the Vietnam coast, but the first four boats have chosen similar tactics. Leader Telefonica is 10 miles ahead of second-placed Groupama, with Camper third, 42 miles behind Telefonica. Abu Dhabi in fourth place are also heading inshore but fifth-placed Puma have chosen a more offshore route.

Camper are expected to be off the Vietnamese coast within the next 12 hours and then face 130 miles of short tacking up the coastline in what is expected to be a 25 to 30 knot headwind.

Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said it has been a solid 24 hours for the team but the coastal route offers further opportunities to make up ground.

"It's a real game of chess out here at the moment,'' he said. "We've made the call to head for the coast along with the two front boats and we're nicely positioned for the time being and looking at what is forecast. The big variable in hugging the coast like this is fishing boats and nets - coming off the wrong side of an encounter with them could cost us dearly.

"There's very little information on localised conditions in this part of the world as nobody really sails here so that makes things even harder. There's actually probably a bit of an advantage in having Telefonica and Groupama hit the coast just in front of us as we can pick up on their mistakes or hazards they've encountered and do our best to avoid them.

"The reality is the boat who can get up that coastline in the best shape, avoid any major debris, wind shadows or adverse currents has the potential to make big gains when it comes to heading back out to Sanya. We just need to ensure that boat is us.

"We will be sensible about it but we will push hard in the rougher conditions and are looking to take miles out of the two boats in front of us. It should be an interesting few days.''

- APNZ

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