On day five of Leg Four CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has continued to lead the charge north east in order to stay in consistent breeze and be well placed for the looming trade winds and the eventual run down to the Equator.
CAMPER remains one of the best positioned boats in the fleet and in strong position to capitalise when the breeze begins to shift to the north and the more consistent trade wind conditions develop. However, Groupama who are in the in the same patch of water as CAMPER and have a reputation for being fast in reaching conditions pose a threat as the boats begin to head further east and into expected reaching conditions towards the north Pacific.
In the last few hours both CAMPER and Telefonica after several days of tacking upwind to the north have tacked onto port and are now heading east/north east and away from the variable conditions of the last few days.
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that the conditions are dictating the unusual approach to the leg.
“I imagine this must be a pretty hard leg for people at home to be looking at as we’ve basically been sailing in the wrong direction for the last few days. But it’s all about setting ourselves up for the long game and the fastest road down to Auckland.
“We’ve done a good job so far and stuck to our game plan which is all about getting east and into the trades at or near the top of the fleet. We’re in a strong position at the moment and now we just need to defend it and make the most of it.
“The guys behind us are really strong in tight reaching conditions which is what we’ll most likely be facing for the next few days. So it’s critical how we deal with this next stage and we need to ensure that we stay on a part of the racecourse where we have advantage over our competitors – not the other way around.
“ We need to stay where our strengths are and not give up our advantage to our competitors which is something I think we’ve been guilty of in the past. It’s going to be a challenging few days but we’re set for it.”
CAMPER in the latest position report at 1500h 24 February NZT is averaging 12 knots in a 15 knot easterly.