Yachting: Thriving Camper has eye on lighter winds

Teams leave Auckland at the start of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Teams leave Auckland at the start of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Camper have survived a tough first 24 hours on their way to the Southern Ocean but now their concern is how to avoid a weather system promising lighter winds.

The badly-damaged Abu Dhabi was an early casualty among the six-boat fleet in leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race to Brazil, although a quicker-than-expected repair job meant they could leave Auckland for a second time this afternoon 12 hours ahead of schedule.

The rest of the fleet had to put up with overnight conditions of heavy rain, winds gusting up to 50 knots, and five metre swells, with Camper maintaining their good start, although they have been overtaken in first place by Telefonica.

After sitting in third leaving the Waitemata Harbour yesterday (Sunday), Camper held the lead for much of last night after getting a jump on the other boats when they split from the fleet and headed close in by Rakino Island to make the most of local currents and a localised wind shift.

As Camper dive south east they need to first navigate a high-pressure system currently sitting off the west coast of the South Island that may force the fleet to head further south than necessary to allow the high to pass ahead of the boats and avoid its lighter winds.
Camper navigator Will Oxley said it had been a tough return to ocean racing.

"It was a long hard night in some pretty brutal conditions. The barometer is still dropping so it doesn't look like it's going to improve any time soon.

"We've done a nice job so far but once we escape the low we have this looming high pressure system to get through, so that's going to be another challenge before we can really get on our horse and get into some fast running.

"Hopefully we can continue our trend of starting well, but this time carry it on through the entire leg.''

- APNZ

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