Yachting: Camper closing in on Puma

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / Hamish Hooper.
Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / Hamish Hooper.

The chasing Volvo Ocean Race pack were formulating their comeback plans today, with Team New Zealand's Camper closing in on leg six leaders Puma.

With the fleet heading towards the north eastern top of Brazil, both Camper and race leaders Telefonica have placed Puma under sustained pressure in the light conditions and narrowed the race considerably.

A charge from Telefonica has seen the Spaniards steal second spot but both boats are looking well positioned to make further gains on Puma over the next 24 hours.

Telefonica is currently 10 nautical miles behind Puma, with Camper a further four back.

"We're set up pretty nicely so hopefully we can make some gains on Puma," Camper helmsman Tony Rae said. "They're going to get round the corner of Brazil ahead of us but hopefully we can chip away and drag them back in."

Although into the favourable and more consistent trade winds, the teams have not seen the blistering speeds they had hoped for due to the effects of a low pressure system in the South Atlantic.

Camper navigator Will Oxley said, because of the light conditions, the smallest details could determine who edges into a lead around the north east corner of Brazil.

"It's going to be very interesting to see how all this plays out," he said. "It's beautiful conditions but some very subtle differences could make a big difference."

The winds are expected to remain unreliable until after the fleet rounds Recife, expected to happen overnight (Sat-Sun NZT), meaning the consolidation of the fleet is likely to continue.

"Once we're past Recife the breeze will go behind us and we should be sailing deeper angles which is really our strong point so we should be in good shape," Oxley said.

"All in all, we're quite nicely positioned at the moment. Conventionally being to the west like we are is far from idea but these aren't conventional conditions, so we are sailing to what we have around us."

The current estimated time of arrival for the leading boat at the finish of leg six in Miami is May 8.

- APNZ

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