It has been a painful 24 hours for CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand as the team fell prey to the unpredictable conditions of tropical storm Alberto and trapped under a large cloud system fell from second place to second to last.
At one stage CAMPER stuck in a light airs zone near the centre of Cyclone Alberto lost close to 25 nautical miles (nm) on the fleet in three hours as trailing boats avoided the cloud system that had entrapped the team.
However, over the last 12 hours as the effects of Alberto have weakened and as the leading boats have sailed into lighter airs CAMPER has fought back and there is now only 24 nm separating the top four boats.
With a complicated weather situation ahead and all boats on track to pick up another low pressure system developing to the north the leaderboard remains fluid with plenty of opportunities on offer. The fleet has separated laterally by around 38 nm, with Telefónica taking the high road north to windward of the fleet, while CAMPER are to leeward, furthest south.
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that after a tough 24 hours now it’s all about the fight back.
“At one point we lost 25 nm in one sched. I think it’s the worse sched I’ve ever been involved with. What was worse was that PUMA and Telefónica, who were behind us, saw us get swallowed up by one very bad cloud and were able to take the high road up and around it.
“It just doesn’t pay sometimes to be in front and the guys behind us could benefit from our misfortune and stay clear.
“It’s frustrating but everyone on board knows how easily these sort of things happen. Now we are clawing back some of those miles and we just need to stay in touch enough and wait for another opportunity.
“It’s a complex weather situation and that means we’re all still well and truly in the game. 24 hours ago Groupama had an almost 70 nm lead, now it’s almost zero, while we went from the front of the pack to the back in a few hours so it’s pretty up and down out here.”
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The latest video from on board CAMPER is here