Yachting: Camper hold early lead

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand in action. Photo / ETNZ
Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand in action. Photo / ETNZ

Camper has taken the lead 24 hours into leg six of the Volvo Ocean Race.

After falling off the pace in tight reaching conditions just after the start, Camper made the most of light downwind conditions overnight and slipped in front just after daybreak.

Competition for the number one spot remains fierce, however, with just 10 nautical miles separating the five boats on the leg from Itajai in Brazil to Miami. The tricky conditions are set to continue with the south-easterly breeze forecast to soften and become variable over the next few days.

Successfully navigating the light airs ahead will be crucial as the first team to reach the trade winds (currently around three days' sailing away) will gain a significant advantage.

After almost a month of solitary sailing due to their enforced pitstop in leg five, Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said the team are enjoying being back in close quarters ocean racing.

"We've probably been in a 1000-metre radius of Abu Dhabi for 12 hours so it's pretty tight.

We're dead equal speed with those guys. We've traded places about five times so it's good.

"I think both us and Abu Dhabi are really enjoying having another boat alongside pushing us to sail that bit harder, so it's nice to see the two of us out front.

"The next four or five days are shaping up to be very, very tricky. It's going to be light and shifty with potential for big changes on the leaderboard. It could be that for a long time any boat in the west looks better, but long term it looks like an easterly set up should pay.

"So in a perfect world we will be looking to get further east but for the time being we're look alright where we are. There's a few thunderstorms brewing in the next few hours and they could shape up to be either very good or very bad for us so it's going to be an interesting night.''

Leg six is expected to take about 14 days to complete.

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- APNZ

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