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Abu Dhabi and CAMPER in a close quarters duel off Brazil. CREDIT: Emirates Team New Zealand
Sail change time on CAMPER. CREDIT: Emirates Team New Zealand
After several days of light and variable conditions CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand is finally into some more consistent breeze and is duelling with Puma for the lead.
Puma to the east and CAMPER to the west managed to benefit from the more favourable wind ahead of the rest of the fleet which gave them an immediate jump on the chasing pack of Abu Dhabi, Telefonica and Groupama.
Abu Dhabi and Telefonica are now some 40 nautical miles (nm) of the pace with Groupama even further behind.
This follows an intense 24 hour close quarter battle more akin to match racing than ocean racing between CAMPER and Abu Dhabi where only meters separated the two boats and the lead changed several times. After a day of battling for supremacy CAMPER gained the upper hand and has now extended out to more than 20 nm in front of Abu Dhabi.
Although all the fleet are now enjoying more consistent breeze, this may not last with models suggesting that conditions are likely to soften again and once more become fickle with true trade wind conditions still some time off.
CAMPER navigator Will Oxley says that the current focus of the team is on just how far east to sail before tacking to the north to clear the Brazilian coast for the last time at Recife.
“It’s critical decision and we’ll all line up and it will be a case of ‘have you set up east enough so that you can rotate right up to Recife.
“If you tack in your lane and you’re pointing at Recife straight away you’ve probably gone too far. You’ve got to make sure you have enough in the bank to allow for the breeze to go right.
“If you come in too close to the shore you end up dealing with land and sea breezes which you don’t really want to do, as well as negative residual current.
“Ultimately, we probably do want to be a bit more east than what we are now, but the reality is that the conditions are so fickle at the moment that localised effects such as clouds are going to have more impact on us, so it’s important we sail to make the most out of them.
“Our little duel with Abu Dhabi has kept us on our toes and by ratcheting up the intensity has probably resulted in us sailing that bit better. It’s certainly nice to have put 20 odd miles on them over night.”
CAMPER in the latest position report at 1100h 27 April local time is in second place sailing at 10.5 knots in a 11.5 knot easterly.