Yachting: Camper splits from fleet in risky manouevre

Camper has split from the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and headed north in search of better breeze in an effort to claw back the leading boats. Photo / Hamish Hooper/
Camper has split from the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and headed north in search of better breeze in an effort to claw back the leading boats. Photo / Hamish Hooper/

Camper has split from the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and headed north in search of better breeze in an effort to claw back the leading boats.

The move which has seen Camper go from the most southerly boat to the most northerly on leg seven from Miami to Lisbon has been costly in the short term, with the team forced to give up over 50 nautical miles in order to get into more favourable conditions.

The tactic was necessary to avoid a large area of high pressure which would have seen the team come to an almost complete stop in a substantial light airs zone.

However, it is a risky game with the two leading boats potentially on track to pick up a fast-moving front in the central Atlantic that would see them taking a more direct route to Lisbon and gain a significant advantage over the trailing pack. It should become clear in the next 24 hours if Groupama and Telefonica are able to make the front or if they will need to gybe and join Camper in the north.

Camper navigator Will Oxley said it was a matter of losing miles in the short-term in the hope of a long-term gain.

"We've just got to hang tough for the moment and lose some miles as we make a break to the north.

"Staying in the south where we were just wasn't sustainable so we've had to take a big loss.

"The routing is showing two quite dramatically different solutions right now. If you are slow you need to bug out now and go well north to get above the high pressure that's coming in from Canada. If you are fast enough you've got a chance of being able to slip through to the Azores high and play the edge of that with the front. Even for the two leading boats though it's going to be very tight if they can get through or not."

Camper are third overall in the race.

- APNZ

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