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In front but painfully slow progress towards Auckland
Saturday 25 February 2012, 2:05PM
By Emirates Team New Zealand

On day six of Leg Four CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand is in first place but making slow progress towards Auckland as the fleet spends another day heading east before making the call to head south and towards the finish.

The benefit of heading north to get south has begun to eventuate with CAMPER easing out to a 19 nautical mile lead over second placed Groupama as the wind has slowly shifted to the north. Team Sanya are in third place 53 miles behind.

However the march eastward and away from the finish line is not likely to finish anytime soon with models suggesting that the boats need to be even further east to be best positioned for the ride south down to the Equator and ultimately Auckland.

To have made such little progress towards New Zealand after six days of hard sailing is beginning to frustrate the crew says CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson

“I think all the guys just want to get back home so to be heading more towards Japan than Auckland is pretty frustrating for everyone. But the reality is the more we head east the better set-up we are for turning our bow south and hitting the road to Auckland.

“We’re sitting in a good position at the moment but we’re keeping a very wary eye on the guys behind us. It’s a game of brinkmanship in a way – who will be the first to blink and head south and who will be best set-up when that does happen.

“There’s still more than 4500 miles to go to Auckland and it’s essential that we hit the trades first and in the best shape possible so while it’s nice to be in front we’d all like to have a few more miles on Groupama. It’s going to be a tight race.”

CAMPER in the latest position report at 1200h 25 February NZT is averaging 17.9 knots in a 14.4 knot southerly.

Rob Salthouse gives the thumbs up to CAMPER's bowman during a sail change. CREDIT: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race

Stu Bannatyne secures a sail on CAMPER's bow during a sail change. CREDIT: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race INDEX