CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has fought back over the last 24 hours with the team working their way through the fleet to be within striking distance of the lead.
The ground made up has seen CAMPER go from dead last to third and a 100 nautical mile (nm) deficit reduced to just 2 nm.
CAMPER’s decision yesterday to head north in search of better breeze paid dividends with the rest of the fleet eventually gybing over to cover CAMPER’s move north.
None of the boats managed to pick up the cold frontal system that they had been hoping would slingshot them across the Atlantic and instead all were forced to follow CAMPER’s tactic of heading north in order to avoid a large area of high pressure.
However, with the fleet now compressed the weather outlook remains unpredictable and there are still plenty of opportunities for yet another significant reshuffle of the leaderboard. All teams are now taking a high road attempting to squeeze east between a high pressure system in the south and one developing in the north.
With over 2000 nm still to go to Lisbon the race remains wide open and there are plenty of options available for every team in this up and down leg.
CAMPER navigator Will Oxley says that CAMPER’s gains are the result of plenty of hard work.
“Nico and I have been scratching our heads pretty hard down here, and the boys have been doing a pretty awesome job on deck just gybing the boat and moving the stack around trying to optimise it.
“We took a couple of big shifts to the north on the remains of Alberto that were still around, so we got a bit of a shove from that.
“We’re trying to use the last of the Gulf Stream eddies, which are pretty important. The current is significant – two and a half knots at the moment – so trying to stay on this makes a massive difference.
“Right at the moment, we are reaping some of the benefits of it. But it’s still a pretty confused situation. We’re back in touch with the leaders though and that’s where we want to be.
“This could be anybody’s race so we just need to sail smart, maximise boat speed and do what we can to wriggle in front and stay there.”