Team Telefoinca skipper Iker Martínez has followed his intuition all the way to second place, relegating CAMPER to third position and mounting pressure on longstanding Leg 6 leaders PUMA.
The leading three have made unique tactical decisions with PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG opting for a high road to the east, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand sailing much closer to the Virgin Islands in the west and Telefónica positioned between the two, keeping their options wide open.
At 1900 UTC PUMA were 13.5 nautical miles ahead of Team Telefónica and CAMPER were in their newfound third position, 20.2 nm from the leaders.
While the teams have been averaging between 10 and 13 knots, they are expected to slow for about 30 hours as they endure light airs while they look for the narrowest point to cross a trough.
Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez said the unstable and weakening weather conditions were making tactical decisions tougher and forcing the team to adapt.
“The truth is, we can’t trust the weather forecasts with such light and unstable breeze and that’s where intuition really becomes important,” Martínez said.
“We have to stay light and agile, and we will have to think through carefully anything we do.”
The disintegrating breeze has been a tough pill to swallow for Groupama sailing team in fourth, 84 nm behind the leaders, and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in fifth, 92 nm behind the leaders.
Abu Dhabi helmsman/trimmer Simon Fisher said his team were remaining optimistic as they raced a westerly route similar to CAMPER, about 44 nm west of Groupama.
“If we manage to slowly close down the gap [to the leaders] each day, like we have been doing over the past few skeds, we should be under 100 miles and ready to make moves in the next few days,” said helmsman/trimmer Simon Fisher.
The teams have major incentive to cross the trough and quick, with reaching conditions of around 15 knots of wind waiting. Whoever finds the new breeze first will likely extend, however the next stage will be another light wind test of patience for a set of crews who are weary and want to reach Miami quickly.
May 9 is the latest ETA for the teams’ arrival in Miami, where shore crews are busy assembling their team bases at the Down Town Miami Race Village, which opens on Sunday.
- 8 May 2012Top four in double match race to Miami
- 5 May 2012All bets off in final 1,000 miles
- 26 Apr 2012PUMA punch through to lead trade wind drag race
- 24 Apr 2012Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
- 22 Apr 2012Everything to play for on way to Miami
- 13 Apr 2012The big debate - skippers comment on Leg 5 attrition