Camper and TeamVodafoneSailing have been well spread since the start in Auckland on Sunday, but should come together in a spectacular sight a few hours from the finish line in Fiji
Simon Hull's ORMA60, TeamVodafoneSailing has wound up to warp speed for the final day of the Auckland-Musket Cove, Fiji Race.
Her task is to try and run down the Volvo Ocean Race entry, Camper, sailed by Emirates Team NZ.
The two yachts have been well separated for much of the 1,140nm Auckland to Fiji Race. At one stage yesterday, Camper had stretched out to be almost 150nm ahead of the ORMA60 trimaran, which was formerly Geant, winner of two trans-Atlantic races. TVS was expected to romp home and slash the race record, however gale force winds forced the start to be delayed by 24 hours, and the race started at noon on Sunday, in light airs.
TeamVodafoneSailing followed her router-prescribed course to the east and separated from the rest of the fleet, led by Camper, with Emirates Team NZ's CEO Grant Dalton aboard.
TVS got stuck in light winds sailing for much of the time at 4-5kts, before getting a sniff if the SE Trades and cutting back onto the same direct line to Fiji as Camper.
At 2200hrs tonight NZT (8 June) Camper had an 100nm lead, and was trucking along at a very respectable 16kts in the SE Trades. She had 344nm left to sail to the finish, according to the latest plot from Yellowbrick on the www.rnzys.org.nz!RNZYS_website.
TeamVodafoneSailing was 444nm from the finish at the same timecheck, and sailing at 22.6kts. Simple maths says that TVS has 19.5hours to reach the finish, and Camper will take 21.5hrs to sail the reduced distance.
The finish is going to be very close, given the vagaries of the breeze, and the fact that the boat speeds are not predicted to remain constant. TVS will wind up to almost 30kts on the morning of the final day and will sail at between 26 and 29kts for a six hour period. Camper hits a still impressive 17kts for the same timespan, but it is pretty hard to hold off a boat sailing 10kts faster - even with a 100nm start.
Now that TeamVodafoneSailing has got across the VOR70's stern, having been caught out to the east of the fleet for most of the 1140nm race, she and Camper are essentially straight-lining to Fiji - and it will be a straight chase down.
Provided the wind and expected boatspeeds hold up, Predictwind, the wind and routing system developed by Jon Bilger, and used in the 2003 and 2007 America's Cups, is projecting that TVS will win by three hours. She is projected to cross the finish line in the NZ International Yachting Trust sponsored race at Musket Cove at 5.00pm on Thursday with Camper following at 8.00pm.
Wired, the Bakewell-White designed 52fter, skippered by Rob Bassett is in third place and has dropped back to be around 140nm behind TVS.
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.