On day twelve of leg two CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has capitalised on the fickle conditions of the doldrums and moved sharply up the leader board.
CAMPER’s decision along with Telefonica to opt for a more easterly crossing of the doldrums zone has for the time being at least paid dividends with CAMPER managing to pull in a 108 mile deficit on yesterday’s leader Groupama.
CAMPER is now in second place just 28 nautical miles behind new race leader Telefonica. Groupama is another 43 miles further back.
CAMPER and Telefonica’s tactical decision to split from the fleet when entering the doldrums saw them enjoying boat speeds of up to 15 knots while the more westerly boats were struggling to get over 10 knots.
CAMPER Skipper Chris Nicholson says however that it is still early days and that the unpredictable conditions could still deliver another shake-up.
“I’m pretty happy with how we’ve gone so far in getting across the doldrums and am confident that we’re positioned in the right spot, but a lot will come down to the sort of shape we exit the doldrum in and pick up the new breeze.
“So until then I’m not making any assumptions and we’re going to keep on pushing hard for every metre of advantage we can get. Things can change very quickly out here and it wouldn’t surprise me if we see a few more lead changes over the next day or two.
“We’ve always said that we saw opportunity in the doldrums and I’m just glad that so far we’ve managed to make the most of that opportunity – there’s an awful long way to go yet though.”
The light conditions will mean that the crew of CAMPER spend Christmas Day at sea thousands of miles away from family and loved ones and any hint of creature comforts.
“I don’t think the freeze dried delights will be up to most peoples Christmas dinners but that’s the reality of life on-board during this race – it’s all consuming. I’m sure in our own way we’ll each take time out to think of friends and family – I know I will, and then we’ll get on with the job on board”, says Nicholson.
“I’m hoping to celebrate Christmas by overtaking a few boats to be honest with you. First place would be about the best present I can think of right now.
I haven’t seen Santa yet though. I’ve been looking out at night time for any reindeer and sleighs but no sign yet!”
CAMPER in the latest position report at 1100h 24 December NZT is averaging 16.3. knots in a 14 knot south easterly.
The latest video from onboard CAMPER is here http://etnzblog.com/#!2011/12/video-looking-forward-to-christmas