Yachting: Nervous times on Camper

Stuart Bannatyne and Adam Minoprio on watch for CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / Hamish Hooper
Stuart Bannatyne and Adam Minoprio on watch for CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / Hamish Hooper

Camper have endured a nervous 24 hours after being jolted by a large bang and then watching to see which boat picked up the trade winds as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet make their way to Miami.

The Team New Zealand boat are second, 17.4 miles behind Puma, but it has been a stressful time as they pick their way through an area of light winds between two high-pressure areas.

It didn't help when they broke a tack line when doing a sail change.

"We were doing an inline peel and were 90 per cent of the way through it when there was a big bang," skipper Chris Nicholson said. "It's bad because, when sails fly out with ropes attached to them, people can get hurt. Luckily, everyone was okay and time-wise it probably cost us a minute or two so we are very fortunate."

They weren't so lucky on the last leg when they damaged their bow and were forced to make repairs in Chile.

Camper navigator Will Oxley said they would continue to work east "so that when the music starts again on the other side we will be in a position to lay the northeast of Brazil and not have to tack out again".

"The wind could change direction on the other side of it," he said, "but it is a very uncertain time for everyone."

The first boat to reach the trade wins would have an advantage and the light winds meant big gains and losses could be made.

At one point, Puma stretched away while the rest of the fleet suffered. Camper and Abu Dhabi lost 19 miles in one three-hour period while, further east, Telephonic lost 20 miles and Groupama 22.

Three hours later, however, Camper had reclaimed eight miles on Puma.

The five remaining boats in the fleet - Team Sanya will rejoin the race from Miami - are separated by only 56 miles with just under 4000 miles to the end of the sixth leg from Itajai, Brazil.

- APNZ

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