Will Oxley and Chris Nicholson ponder the tactical challenges  of Leg 6 Will Oxley and Chris Nicholson ponder the tactical challenges of Leg 6 CREDIT: Emirates Team New Zealand
The sun setting onboard CAMPER The sun setting onboard CAMPER CREDIT: Emirates Team New Zealand

A game of snakes and ladders in the light

Tuesday 8 May 2012, 8:52AM
By Emirates Team New Zealand

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand’s tactical battle continues with the team closing to within eight nautical miles (nm) of  Puma overnight only to sail into a large light patch in the last few hours causing them to lose ground on the leg leaders.

It has been a game of snakes and ladders for the team with hard won miles from overnight being eroded away and their second place coming under attack as the tail end of the fleet enjoys more consistent breeze.

Currently, CAMPER are close to becalmed with only two or three knots of wind, while Groupama in third place are enjoying up to eight knots of breeze and making small but steady gains on CAMPER and Puma.

However, Groupama have an almost 60 nm deficit to make up in order to overtake CAMPER and with the breeze forecast to build in the next few hours CAMPER should have a good chance of defending its second place while continuing to challenge Puma for the lead.

Downwind running conditions are forecast for the final stretch of the leg into Miami which should favour CAMPER and help give a final push for pulling in Puma’s 12 nm lead before the finish (currently estimated for 10am, May 9, Miami time).

CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that the final few days of the leg are shaping up to be very challenging.

“An interesting game is being played out right now. We are literally island hopping in the Bahamas picking up local sea breezes trying to get every morsel of breeze that is on hand.

“As predicted the fleet is compressing in the light stuff and while that helps the guys behind us, it also helps us in relation to Puma.

“In these conditions every bit of breeze counts and we’re doing just what we can to keep the boat moving.
“We made a lot of progress overnight when the other boats were pretty quiet – now it’s our turn to feel the pain. Hopefully, we can minimise the impact and escape without losing to many miles to Puma or Groupama.

“It’s all on for these final few days.”

CAMPER in the latest position report at 1500h 7 May Miami time is in second place sailing at 2.6 knots in a 1.5 knot  north easterly.