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Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
CAMPER co-skipper Stu Bannatyne says conditions have been perfect for Volvo Open 70 sailing today with warm weather, flat water and solid breezes making for superb fast sailing as they enter the Doldrums zone.

“We are making our way towards Miami with good speed right now -- we have about 18 knots on the speedo at the moment and we are all very happy,” Bannatyne said this afternoon.

“We have still got a lot of favourable current with us which means the seas are very flat, so we are ripping along in essentially flat water with no strain on the boat at all.

“It’s pretty warm -- most of the guys are just wearing shorts and t-shirts on deck although we are blasting along at 20 knots. Down below it’s not too bad, most of the guys have got fans in their bunks and that’s enough to keep it pretty cool.”

Bannatyne said the CAMPER crew are hoping their fast entry to the Doldrums will herald an equally quick exit.

“We are entering the Doldrums area now and it has all been very well behaved so far,” he said. “There were a few little clouds last night but nothing too serious, we a pretty fortunate.

“Being this far west in the Atlantic is a lot kinder crossing I think. Maybe another 200 miles and then we can say we are clear.”

“Fingers crossed it stays as nice as it is right now -- we have about 15 knots of wind and we are beam reaching and all going nicely.”

However, Bannatyne said the CAMPER crew had little time to relax and enjoy the spectacular sailing because of the three way battle going on between them, leaders PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and Team Telefónica.

“We have had Telefónica in sight for the last couple of days and it has certainly been some pretty close racing,” Bannatyne said. “PUMA have done a nice job round the corner of Brazil and put themselves in a nice position and made a nice little break on us and Telefónica.

“But they are only around 40 miles ahead and just one bad cloud can chew that sort of distance up pretty quickly so there is still plenty to play for.

“We will work hard over the next couple of days to get through the Doldrum area and into the next part of the race.”

Bannatyne said he believed the result of Leg 6 was far from certain, particularly given the uncertain state of the trade winds.

“The trades are a bit messed up and at this time of year and it’s not uncommon to have a front push down from Florida and mess things up even more from the Bahamas onwards,” he said.

“I remember finishing this race 10 years ago into Miami and we had all sorts of rain clouds and thunderstorms and there were a lot of place changes in that last 150 miles.

“So it is all still on the table at this point.”

At 1600 UTC today CAMPER were in third, 8 nautical miles (nm) behind Team Telefónica and 37 nm adrift of PUMA.

Fourth placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were 96 nm from the lead with Groupama sailing team a further 51 nm back in fifth.

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  • Keep on rolling Camper!!!

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17492
Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race

Watching Team Telefonica crossing just in front of the bow, onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA.

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Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race

Full crew weight aft in a tight battle with Team Telefonica, onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA.

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Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race

Rob Salthouse with ritual number one, putting on sunscreen every watch, onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA.