Yachting: Tricky times ahead for Camper

Another wave of water washes down the deck oonboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Photo / Hamish Hooper.
Another wave of water washes down the deck oonboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Photo / Hamish Hooper.

Tricky times lie ahead for Team New Zealand's Camper as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet transitions from trade wind sailing to a large zone of light air.

After several days of fast and furious sailing with boat speeds of up to 30 knots, conditions are expected to become light and variable over the next 24 hours, and remain that way for the 1300 nautical miles left to Miami.

"The trades served us nicely and we're in a competitive spot as we head into the light stuff," Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said. "It's going to be pretty funky though over the next few days as the breeze dies off and there's going to be some big decision required that will probably decide the race.

"We just need to make sure we get those decisions right."

Puma continued to resist attempts from Camper and Telefonica to usurp their position at the top of the leg six leaderboard but a second successive leg win was far from secure.

Just 17 nm separate the top three boats, with Abu Dhabi and Groupama not much further behind, so the tricky conditions will present plenty of opportunities for a leaderboard reshuffle.

The breeze is predicted to stay under 10 knots for the rest of the leg and at times drop away to just three knots. The latest estimated time of arrival into Miami is mid-morning May 10 (NZT).

Despite the light and tricky weather conditions forecast for the coming days, Nicholson said his team had no plans on relinquishing pressure on the frontrunners.

"When we look back through the race, whenever it's been light and tricky we have fared pretty well," he said. "We're going to end up with an area of breeze where a certain amount of luck will come into play and we're prepared for that.

"We've been able to stay pretty strong this whole leg so far. Some conditions have suited us, some haven't, yet we're still here. We're not going anywhere. We're planning on being here right to the death on this one."

- APNZ

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