After surrendering their leg four lead to Groupama, Team New Zealand have done a good job of limiting the damage on day eight of the race to Auckland.

The Camper crew made the most of good boat speed and breeze yesterday to claw back the lost miles to Groupama.

The Kiwi boat picked up the breeze shift that the more northerly boats had benefited from the previous day and managed to hold on to their second place despite a strong challenge from Puma.

After seeing Groupama's lead stretch out to around 50 nautical miles, Camper gained back ground throughout the day, and by late last night were sitting 35 miles behind. Overall race leaders Telefonica were back in third, 68 miles off the pace.


The Camper crew were sailing at an average boat speed 2 or 3 knots faster than Groupama's to push the French team hard as they approach trade wind sailing.

The new steady pressure has allowed the fleet to slowly ease south allowing them to pick up the north east trade winds and begin a long reach down towards Vanuatu and Fiji.

Camper skipper Chris Nicholson says that the next 24 hours will be critical as reaching the trades is key to getting across the Doldrums unscathed.

"The reality is that after eight days of racing there's not really that much separating the entire fleet. Once we pick up the trades which should happen pretty soon we're going to have a decent period of reaching in a consistent breeze, so we need to be well positioned to pick up those trades," said Nicholson.

"There's definitely still an advantage in making further ground to the east and if we can do that we should be in good shape for the run down to Fiji.

"We were hoping our position would give us a nice angle and line of pressure with which to back the guys out front and it seems to have worked so hopefully it will keep on delivering over the next day or so."