Camper's one-day distance record has been broken as the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race hurtle to the finish line in Lorient, France, tonight (NZT).

An intense low pressure system in the North Atlantic has meant the six boats in the fleet have been sailing on the edge and it has seen Telefonica cover 564 nautical miles in 24 hours to break the previous record of 553 nautical miles set by Camper on the first leg from Alicante to Cape Town.

The leading four boats all broke the record, including Camper, and the fleet is still condensed after all gybing safely towards Lorient in the steady 40-45 knots winds and six metre waves.

The conditions are expected to gradually ease as the boats close in on the finish line tonight (NZT).


Camper are second, 15.3nm behind Groupama, and really need to win the leg if they have any chance of overall line honours. Groupama lead the race overall, eight points ahead of Telefonica and 23 in front of Camper in fourth.

"This is the fastest the boats have gone in the entire race and there's still much more of it to come, so almost without a doubt this will be the fastest stretch in this edition of the race," Camper navigator Will Oxley said earlier today. "It's certainly all go, and we're seriously on the edge.

"Everything is at maximum loads and we're just hanging on as we head closer towards the low pressure. The barometer has dropped about 20 millibars in 24 hours which is pretty significant and we're expecting tonight to be one of the windiest nights in the race.

"We just need to take care while continuing to push hard. It's a fine balance and we need make sure we end up on the right side of the equation.

"Things will moderate in the morning as we move away from the low but even at the finish line we're still likely to have at least 20 knots.

"Right now at this point it's not clear whether we're on a submarine or yacht. It's unbelievably wet aboard - my swimming pool doesn't have quite as much water as this.

"To get in the lead overnight we simply need to make less mistakes than everyone else. The boats are so on the edge and sailing at such high speeds that one mistake will cost you dearly. When to make a sail change? How hard to push into the low to get the shift? Lots could happen and there's still plenty to play out."