CAMPER’s split from PUMA and Telefónica yesterday saw Chris Nicholson’s team drop to third after they pushed hard to the west in search of fresh pressure closer to the Caribbean Islands.
Today however, the status quo amongst the top three boats has been re-established, with CAMPER regaining second after squeezing through the narrowest of gaps between Anguilla and an outlying island.
This bold move saved them around five nautical miles (nm) and when the leading trio re-converged, CAMPER had edged back in second spot.
At 0400 UTC today PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG had a 10 nm lead over CAMPER, with Telefónica a further 10 nm behind in third.
Groupama sailing team in fourth had closed to within 77 nm of the lead, chased hard by fifth placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, another eight nm back.
In his latest report from the boat, CAMPER Media Crew Member (MCM) Hamish Hooper described the team’s daring gambit -- which saw the team sneak through the shallow 200 metre wide channel between Anguilla and Scrub Island -- as a ‘signature move’ by navigator Will Oxley.
“Yesterday was one of the most tense, up and down days of the leg,” Hooper said.
“Soon after as we passed the Caribbean islands of St Bart’s and St Martin, a small window of opportunity presented itself when the breeze picked up sufficiently for Will Oxley to give the all clear to shoot a relatively small and shallow gap right between Anguilla and Scrub Island, saving us around 5 miles going around the typically Caribbean named Dead Man’s Cay at the northern end of the island.
“Sailing through a 200 metre gap at 21 knots in six metres of water, was a thrill at least, but the question was soon asked just how many signature moves will it take to win this leg,” Hooper said.
As the top three teams played out their very different strategies, CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson said yesterday had been like playing a high stakes chess game, with the boats remarkably returning to the same order as before they split.
“It looks like we are going to resume in very similar pieces of water,” he said. “I am honestly not sure which boats will be the most relieved, but we are looking forward to the next rematch.”
By 0700 UTC PUMA had eked out another nautical mile on CAMPER with Telefónica closing the gap on second by a similar amount.
In fourth and fifth, Groupama and Abu Dhabi had made significant gains since 0400 UTC, closing to 60 nm and 72 nm of the lead respectively.
- 5 May 2012All bets off in final 1,000 miles
- 2 May 2012Leaders neck and neck as Leg 6 clash intensifies
- 28 Apr 2012Telefónica in striking distance of the lead
- 25 Apr 2012CAMPER survive crash, boom, bang but lose the lead
- 23 Apr 2012PUMA dominate charge home on opening night
- 26 Feb 2012PUMA swagger on as CAMPER face threats