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YACHTING

Stu Bannatyne steering at sunset. Stu Bannatyne steering at sunset. CREDIT: Emirates Team New Zealand

A long night ahead

Friday 1 June 2012, 8:53AM
By Emirates Team New Zealand
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CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand is in for long last night at sea as Leg 7 comes to a nail-biting finale.

With just over 150 nautical miles (nm) to go there is only 50 odd miles separating the entire fleet and with light and variable conditions forecast for the final stretch a tense night is in store for all six boats.

Overnight as expected CAMPER and the rest of the fleet came to a virtual stop as they crossed through the ridge of high pressure off the Portuguese coast with boat speed dropping to just a few knots and the fleet compressing significantly.

Abu Dhabi however managed to hold onto their lead and emerged this morning with a slim advantage over the trailing boats. With all boats now back up to speed focus has turned to the concluding stage of the leg from Cape Raso to Lisbon where podium positions are likely to be determined.

Once the boats round Cape Raso the breeze is forecast to become very light  with plenty of pot holes for the boats to fall into. The variable conditions combined with strong localised tide currents around Lisbon means that the outcome of the leg is far from clear with plenty of potential for a reshuffle of the leaderboard in the remaining few hours.

The latest estimated time of arrival for CAMPER is  between one and three am 1 May local time/mid-afternoon 1 May NZT. However the soft conditions mean that this could blow out by three to six hours.

CAMPER co-skipper Stu Bannatyne says that it’s shaping up to be an intense finish to the leg.

“These could be the longest, most painful and intense  miles we have had in the race so far.

“With the outlook being what it is for the last stretch of the leg anything could happen.

"It’s going to be a very long and difficult night as we all jostle for podium positions.”