Chris Nicholson and Will Oxley ponder CAMPER's position. Chris Nicholson and Will Oxley ponder CAMPER's position. CREDIT: Emirates Team New Zealand
Nick Burridge and Rob Salthouse carry out some running repairs. Nick Burridge and Rob Salthouse carry out some running repairs. CREDIT: Emirates Team New Zealand

Heading north in search of breeze

Friday 25 May 2012, 1:28AM
By Emirates Team New Zealand

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has split from the fleet and headed north in search of better breeze and in an effort to claw back the miles on the leading boats.

The move which has seen CAMPER go from the most southerly boat to the most northerly has been costly in the short term with the team forced to give up over 50 nautical miles in order to get north and into more favourable conditions.

The tactic was necessary in order to avoid a large looming area of high pressure which would have seen the team come to an almost complete stop in a substantial light airs zone. By heading high into the North Atlantic the team dodges the Azores High and will hopefully pick up a frontal system developing in the north that will slingshot them across the Atlantic.   

However, it is a risky game with the two leading boats potentially on track to pick up a fast moving front in the central Atlantic that would see them taking a more direct route to Lisbon and gain a significant advantage over the trailing pack. It should become clear in the next 24 hours if Groupama and Telefonica are able to make the front or if they will need to gybe and join CAMPER in the north.

CAMPER navigator Will Oxley says that it’s a matter of losing miles in the short-term in the hope of a long-term gain.

“We’ve just got to hang tough for the moment and loose some miles as we make a break to the north.

“Staying in the south where we were just wasn’t sustainable so we’ve had to take a big loss.

“The routing is showing two quite dramatically different solutions right now. If you are slow you need to bug out now and go well north to get above the high pressure that’s coming in from Canada. If you are fast enough you’ve got a chance of being able to slip through to the Azores high and play the edge of that with the front.  Even for the two leading boats though it’s going to be very tight if they can get through or not.

“As one of the trailing boats we’ve made the call that we need to get north as we’re not far enough advanced to get through the Azores High. Hopefully this short-term pain will enable us to stay in touch with the lead and get back in the game.

“We’ve still got some 2500 nm to go in some seriously difficult conditions, so there’s plenty of chance to recover.”

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