Yachting: Camper in scrap to limit losses

The rain comes down on Camper. Photo Hamish Hooper / Team NZ
The rain comes down on Camper. Photo Hamish Hooper / Team NZ

Team New Zealand expects to drift back in the Volvo Ocean Race field on the leg to Auckland but is determined to limit the losses.

The Camper-sponsored boat has been near the front of leg four since the start from Sanya a week ago, but with Groupama, Puma and Abu Dhabi in a more northerly position in the Pacific Ocean, they are expected to quickly make gains as the breeze shifts in their favour.

Groupama has taken the lead off Camper and has built a 22 nautical mile advantage. Camper is in second place with Telefonica in third 35 miles off the pace.

However the leaderboard may be reshuffled again over the next 24 hours as Puma, Groupama and Abu Dhabi look to take further advantage of their northerly position and better conditions.

Current models are suggesting that Camper will not feel the full benefit of the new breeze until later this evening meaning a nervous few hours for the team as they try to fend off the advances of the fast approaching northerly boats.

Over the last three hours Groupama's average boat speed has been more than 5 knots more than Camper's and they along with Puma, Sanya and Abu Dhabi are heading several degrees further south than Camper.

Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said it was going to be a tough night.

"The guys up north are looking really good at the moment and they've got the full advantage of the new breeze. Hopefully we pick it up sooner rather than later and can limit the damage they do to us.

"I'll be much happier once we're in the north east trades and out of this light stuff - it's nervous times.

"There's a long way to go and a lot of race track ahead to get back in front but we need to stay in touch and don't want to see Groupama stretch out to much of a lead."

"We're going to bleed more miles over the next few hours, so the challenges for us is to focus on scrapping our way back in front and gaining back those lost miles."

- APNZ

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