by Thomas Pryor
Skipper Chris Nicholson and navigator Will Oxley discuss the latest report and look for the other boats to leeward onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China.
On Day 2 of of Leg 3B of the Volvo Ocean Race, Camper sailed by Emirates Team New Zealand is closing the gap on first placed Puma in the long drag race across the Indian Ocean to the turning point off the north west tip of Sumatra.
Camper has continued to build their preferred position to the north of the fleet and is now just over one mile behind Puma.
The next 1000 miles is shaping up to be a long drag race predominantly on port tack as the fleet pass the southern tip of Sri Lanka and heads into the Bay of Bengal and towards the waypoint of Pulau We, where they turn into the entrance of the Malacca Strait.
With relatively few tactical options open to the boats on the straight-line race to the waypoint the focus is on maximising boat speed and smooth boat handling.
Camper skipper Chris Nicholson says that he’s happy with their efforts so far.
'There just aren’t that many tactical options available to us or anybody else for that matter in this stretch of the course so we’re working hard to extract every last bit of boat speed.
'To be honest I’m pretty pleased with what I’m what seeing so far. This hasn’t been a favoured point of sail for us in some of the recent legs so it’s nice to see us holding the other boats and slowly gaining on Puma.
'It’s interesting in the two sprint legs we’ve had recently there’s been big differences in boat speeds while tight reaching like this, but now we’re properly offshore ocean racing those differences seem to have evened out somewhat.
'Essentially, we’re sailing the boat like an Olympic dinghy at the moment and making a range of tiny tweaks to things like our dagger boards, water ballast tanks, sheeting angles and weight distribution below deck in an effort to eke more speed out of the boat.
'These are millimetre changes but over the last day or we’ve definitely made some inroads and that combined with the fact that our models are suggesting that further north is the place be we think we’re on the right side of the equation for the time being.
'But this is going to be a very long leg and it’s early days so we’ll just wait and see what else there is still to come.'
Camper in the latest position report at 1400h 24 January NZT is averaging 11.7. knots in a 13.3 knot north easterly.