The Camper crew from Emirates Team New Zealand are shedding their jackets as the water warms on the remaining 1,100 nautical mile northerly course to Itajaí, where Groupama sailing team are starting the process of stepping their new mast.
Daryl Wislang and Tony Rae on deck onboard Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.
'All of a sudden Brazil seems a bit closer,’’ Media Crew Member Hamish Hooper said on Friday.
At 1300 UTC the Camper had 1,104 nm remaining as they edged into the 27th day of the Leg 5 race from one of their home ports, Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil.
The team have notched up more than 350 nm in the past 24 hours as the average wind speed dropped to 18 knots and the maximum rested at about 23 knots, well below the 60 knots that battered them at Cape Horn a few days ago.
A reflective mood overcame skipper Chris Nicholson as his team made their way north in the South Atlantic, just days after resuming racing from the Chilean port of Puerto Montt where his team suspended racing on April 3 for repairs.
'The world seems a small place at times in these boats,’’ he said. 'Four days ago we were in Chile, all of a sudden we have rounded the bottom of the world via Cape Horn, sailed past the Falkland Islands and are just over 1000 miles away from our destination in Brazil. Before we know it we will be in Miami, Florida in North America.'
The team's current estimated time of arrival at Itajai is April 17. If they successfully finish the leg they will receive 15 points, sending them back to third place on the overall leaderboard.
Meanwhile, in Itajaí, Groupama sailing team’s shore crew have started stepping a replacement mast that arrived from Amsterdam late on Thursday. The mast travelled by plane then truck while the team completed the leg under jury rig after they were forced to suspend racing on April 4 when it broke in two.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam continues en route to Itajaí on board a cargo ship and is expected to arrive on April 18, giving the shore crew just a few days to conduct critical repair work before the DHL In-Port Race on April 21.
Team Sanya’s Volvo Open 70 is also on board a cargo ship as part of what the team have dubbed 'Operation Savannah' in honour of the American port where they expect to dock on April 27. After repairs to the rudder, the team will then sail the boat 350 nm to Miami, ahead of the in-port race and Leg 7 start.