CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has safely completed their tricky passage through the Solomon Islands and after making small but steady gains over the last 12 hours has begun looking for further opportunities in the complex weather situation developing ahead.
CAMPER along with Telefonica made good time in the run through the middle of the Solomon Islands chain dodging numerous unmarked reefs, wind shadows and strong tidal surges to re-emerge in an improved position for the run down to New Zealand.
The fleet is now confronted with a complex and fast evolving weather situation that is likely to offer plenty of headaches and opportunities for teams over the remaining six or seven days of racing. Current estimated time of arrival into Auckland is either late on Saturday 10th March or early on Sunday 11th March.
However, the unclear weather picture between Vanuatu and the top of New Zealand means that there is potential for a reshuffle of the leaderboard in coming days as the fleet begins to compress up in the expected light conditions heading into Auckland.
CAMPER remains in fifth place some 170 miles off the pace but has closed up on Abu Dhabi and is less than 2 miles away from slipping past them into fourth place.
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that it’s a relief to have pulled off the risky run through the Solomon Islands.
“There were a lot of things that could have gone wrong, so to have got through in good time and to pick up some miles on the leaders is great.
“Some good planning and research from Will really paid dividends and now we’re looking to pull in some further ground on the run down to Auckland.
“Things are looking pretty complex weather wise between here and Auckland so that means there’s the opportunity for some passing lanes to open up and for us to get back in the game.
“We are going to be hunting hard all the way to Auckland that’s for sure.”
CAMPER in the latest position report at 1500h 5 March NZT is averaging 14 knots in a 13.7 knot easterly.