On day three of Leg Three, Part B CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand is continuing its neck and neck battle with Puma and to build its windward advantage to the north of the fleet.
After three days at sea and over 1000 nautical miles the two boats have never been separated by more than five miles and CAMPER is currently just three miles behind first placed Puma.
Overnight CAMPER did a perfectly executed tack to take advantage of a wind shift caused by a cloud line and position themselves further to the north. This move is expected to pay dividends in coming days as Puma and the rest of the fleet attempts to join CAMPER further north.
CAMPER Skipper Chris Nicholson says that he’s confident that their positioning will deliver them some valuable benefits in the days ahead.
“I think that we’re probably where most of competitors would like to be at the moment. If it plays out as the models suggest it should the 10 miles of leverage that we have now we should be able to convert into a couple of miles of lead in 900 miles time.
“Obviously anything can happen between now and then but at this point in time this is the position that we would like to remain in. The cloud line last night essentially allowed us to get this extra northerly leverage free of charge so that’s not a bad outcome at all.
“The big challenge for us is ensuring that we make the most of the advantage that we have and cash it in at the right time. We’ve already used a few miles of it and that’s what has allowed us to close up on Puma over the day.
“If we can continue to do that then we should be able to get a jump on them by the turning point, but it’s a very tricky game manipulating the advantage and utilising it to maximise gain for us.
“This would have to be one of the most intense battles for the lead I’ve experienced. The skeds are extraordinarily close and it really is neck and neck but we’re determined to be in the lead by the time we hit the Malacca Strait.
“It’s a bit ironic really as we’re putting in such effort at the moment for what are small gains and then we think about what’s ahead in the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea – there’s going to be enormous gains and losses and all this could count for nothing but this is where the game is so we’re giving it everything we’ve got.”
CAMPER in the latest position report at 1400h 25 January NZT is averaging 10.4 knots in a 9.6 knot northerly.