The gradual slowing of the fleet continued overnight as they felt the brutal effects of a cold front blocking their path to the favourable breeze of the trade winds.
Around 50 miles of lateral separation split Leg 6 leaders CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand from Groupama sailing team in fifth on Tuesday morning as speeds plummeted to just over five knots.
Although ahead, CAMPER, to the north-west of their rivals, were feeling the effects of their slightly more coastal course as they battled it out with second-placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
Media crew member Hamish Hooper said: “The verdict on the day was pretty much all-positive until just after dark we came across an 8km roadblock: an oil research vessel towing fourteen 8,000 metre cables behind it with two guard ships escorting it along happened to motor right across our path.
“We had no choice but to alter course to get around the stern of it -- a move which Nico (skipper Chris Nicholson) predicts will cost us five miles on PUMA, Groupama and Telefónica.
“We are hanging in there though. The winds are fickle and light, and our hope is we will get a favourable wind shift and an ounce more pressure and be able to skirt inside them all and out in in front as we hit the trades… a little optimistic maybe, but why not.
“The glass is always half full on CAMPER.”
To the south-east, Telefónica and Groupama continued their more offshore routing, with PUMA Ocean Racing in the middle of the pack.
"The fleet is more or less lined up bow to bow now, and we’re patiently waiting for the next frontal system to decide who gets quickest passage east through these lighter conditions," PUMA MCM Amory Ross said.
"Is it the northern two, the southern two, or us in-between? We should find out in the next day or two, and the boats that get east first should be able to extend north in fresher conditions offshore."
The teams are expected to have light winds for around the next 48 hours until they can punch through the cold front lying in between them and the trade winds.
- 9 May 2012CAMPER vow to fight to the death for Leg 6 victory
- 8 May 2012CAMPER pray for two-horse race
- 4 May 2012Weather trough splits leading pack as CAMPER go west
- 25 Apr 2012CAMPER survive crash, boom, bang but lose the lead
- 23 Apr 2012A virtual minefield of gains and losses
- 23 Apr 2012PUMA dominate charge home on opening night