Auckland-Musket Cove, Fiji race expected to go down to the wire

On board Camper - Day 2 Auckland-Fiji Race

Latest projections have the Volvo 70, Camper, sailed by Emirates team New Zealand and the ORMA60 trimaran, TeamVodafoneSailing literally finishing within and hour of each other tomorrow evening in Musket Cove, Fiji.

Both yachts would seem to have reached the SE Trades, and speeds have increased significantly after hitting some light patches of wind overnight.

Overall fleet positions as at 0800hrs, 8 June. Camper is the pink yacht, Wired the green yacht astern, and TVS the purple yacht trying to cross over.

Third placed yacht on the water, the Bakewell-White 52, Wired (Rob Bassett) is still in one of these holes - sailing at just 1.9kts with 693 nm to the finish at 0800hrs this morning 8 June.

The race started on Sunday in Auckland, after a delay by 24 hours to allow heavy winds to clear. The weather systems that drove that easterly gale have cleared more quickly than expected, leaving the leading boats to pick their way through the wind holes to their current position just under three days later.

The expanded track for showing the increase in speed over the last few hour and her dramatic course change to get on the best line and wind for Musket Cove.

The prognosis from www.predictwind.com!Predictwind the wind and weather routing system developed by Jon Bilger on two America's Cup winning programs, has the two yachts finish at around 1800hrs tomorrow. At this stage, TVS is predicted to head off Camper by just an hour - however that is very dependent on how the 60ft trimaran fares in the next few hours and assumes that Camper has a secure hold on the SE Trades.

Camper’s best option is to sail the direct route to the finish 500nm away in Musket Cove. The blue track astern is that of TVS ending at her current position at 0800hrs on 8 June.

Currently TVS is 140nm astern of the Volvo 70, which had about 530nm left to sail to the finish line in the NZ International Yachting Trust sponsored ocean race.

TVS is recommended to get west and then head straight for Musket Cove

Progress can be viewed on the Vodafone Play website http://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/TeamVodafone?fullscreen!click_here to go straight to the full screen version. If you are using on an iPhone, please tilt the device horizontally to get the ideal view of both screens. You can wind back the display to follow her progress on the map and accompanying time-lapse pictures as she starts, and then exits the Hauraki Gulf. Now TVS has left 3G coverage only her boat position and actual speed is shown on the display.

Or, you can follow the whole fleet on the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron website www.rnzys.org.nz or http://live.adventuretracking.com/aucklandtofiji2011!click_here to go straight to the Yellowbrick tracker and zoom in to see the individual race yacht's positions updated every 20 minutes.
http://www.sail-world.com/84440