CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has set off on Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race, a 3500 nautical mile transatlantic sprint from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal.
With 30 vital points on the line for first place and only 14 points currently separating the top four overall boats, the leg which sees the fleet returning to Europe for the first time in over six months is shaping up to be pivotal in determining the outcome of the race.
Conditions for the beginning of the leg are complex with light, unstable weather and numerous thunderstorms for the first 24 hours before the fleet pick up the tropical storm ‘Alberto’ which should slingshot them north east at speed before they exit the Gulf Stream current and head east across the Atlantic.
The leg is the last long of the race and will see the teams sail from the tropical area off the coast of Miami, heading north in the Gulf Stream before striking east across the Atlantic in heavy running conditions and finishing off the Portuguese capital in approximately 11 days’ time.
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that the leg is crucial for the team.
“The outcome of this leg is going to have a big impact on the ultimate outcome of the race, so it’s vital that we are at or near the top of the fleet as it hits Europe. Anybody who isn’t on the podium in Lisbon is going to have a big hill to climb to stay in contention. It’s a big one.
“Everyone can feel that the pressure is mounting on all the teams and that we’re getting to the pointy end of the race. It’s time for us to stay solid and for us to step-up and deliver another top class performance.
“Conditions wise we’re hoping for a bit of everything but not too much jib reaching. I think as long as that doesn’t come into play, we’ll be fine.
“It could be quite a quick trip I think we’ll see some fast days, but it’s a good set of conditions and good forecast for this team and this boat. There’s plenty of running on the cards and generally like that.
“We’re ready to give it everything and take the level of intensity up another notch or two.”