Leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race has now reached its seventh day and at 1900 UTC, focus was on Camper Emirates Team New Zealand with Aussie Chris Nicholson in charge as he proceeded to take on the two boats ahead of him, cruising in the midst of a 23+knot north-westerly breeze.
Nicholson has elected to take inside track forty-one nautical miles (nm) to leeward of her two opponents in the west.
Puma’s Mar Mostro has upped her performance and taken 18 nm out of the leader, relegating Telefónica (Iker Martinez/ESP) to third place, three miles astern.
Tonight, Camper gained 28 nm in the period 1600 – 1900 and snatched back another 28 nm in the three hours leading up to the 2200 UTC report.
But it’s not looking quite so sweet for Franck Cammas and his team on Groupama 4 as they continue creeping along the shore towards the Cape Verde Islands at around twelve knots, sailing dead downwind. However, they are still 212 nm ahead of the chasing pack, 28 nm off the southernmost tip of Western Sahara and 486 nm from the Cape Verde Islands, which they will leave to port. Beyond the Cape Verdes is a vast windless zone, which they will need to avoid at all costs.
For the first time in this 6,500 nautical mile to Cape Town, we are starting to see some improved 24-hour runs after days of light airs and very little progress. Groupama 4 has achieved the highest 24-hour run of 272 nm, followed by PUMA’s Mar Mostro (268), Telefónica (246) and Camper (246).