Team New Zealand have manoeuvred themselves into the prime position to the north of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet after dodging a squall on day three of the third leg.

Chris Nicholson, the skipper of the Camper-sponsored boat, said his team were "probably where all of our other competitors would like to be" after splitting from the fleet and repositioning themselves north of leg leaders, Puma.

Camper have been locked in a tight battle with Puma since they sailed from the Maldives, used as a safe haven port to re-start the third leg after the boats were shipped through the piracy zone.

After three days at sea and over 1000 nautical miles the two boats have never been separated by more than five miles. The latest position report had Camper trailing Puma by just over two miles.


But the Kiwi team are around 10 miles to windward of Puma after pulling off a perfectly timed tack to take advantage of a wind shift caused by a cloud line.

Nicholson believes their new position will pay dividends.

"If it plays out as it should the 10 miles of leverage that we have we should be able to convert that into a couple of miles of lead in 900 miles time," he said.

"Obviously anything can happen between now and then but at this point this is the position that we would like to remain in and probably where all of our other competitors would like to be.

"The big challenge for us is ensuring that we make the most of the advantage that we have and cash it in at the right time ..."

Late last night French team Groupama remained in third place, with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in fourth. Overall race leaders Telefonica yesterday made up ground after their horror start, leapfrogging Team Sanya into fifth place, 17 miles behind Puma.