On day four of Leg Four CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has taken the high road and headed north in search of better breeze and in order to avoid a looming windless zone.
After leading the fleet overnight through the Strait of Luzon and around the southern tip of Taiwan CAMPER made the hard call to sail away from the finish line and head north east in search of better breeze and a stronger tactical position.
Over the next few days CAMPER will pursue a fine balancing act as they judge how far north east to sail in pursuit of more favourable but away from their final destination before diving south towards the Equator and ultimately Auckland.
CAMPER’s move initially split the fleet with overall leader Telefonica choosing to take a more direct southerly route after clearing the Luzon Strait behind CAMPER. However, after a few hours and sailing into increasingly lighter conditions Telefonica tacked this afternoon and joined CAMPER and the rest of the fleet on the northerly road.
Technically CAMPER is currently sitting in second place 6.9 miles behind Groupama, however as all boats are currently sailing away from the next waypoint and as the lead is calculated by the boat’s distance to the next waypoint this is not necessarily a 100% accurate representation.
After slow progress through the Luzon Strait speeds have been building as the fleet head out into the Philippine Sea. For, much of today CAMPER has been averaging above 15 knots.
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that while it’s a relief to be out of the South China Sea the tactical headaches continue.
“Life on board is pretty uncomfortable and with the breeze due to drop over coming hours it’s not going to get any easier.
“It feels a bit strange to be sailing away from where we want to go but the reality is we need to position ourselves to the north east to remain in decent breeze.
“There’s no doubt that we’ve got a few days of very tricky sailing in front of us as we attempt to make our way through these variable systems in the best shape possible. It’s going to be a relief when we finally get into some trade wind sailing!”
CAMPER in the latest position report at 1500h 23 February NZT is in second place averaging 14.1 knots in a 14 knot south westerly..