by Stefano Blin
In the Volvo Ocean Race, the next 24 hours will deliver a tense end to Leg 7, the crew will have battled over 4,800 miles and it may just come down to the last hundred. This 'anything but normal' Atlantic crossing has proved to be a twisted road for the fleet, and last night was one of the most tortuous for Camper as they crossed the ridge of high pressure.
Rob Salthouse helping as CAMPER just manages to escape the clutches of the light air patch onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal.
Speaking onboard this morning skipper Chris Nicholson commented, 'Overnight wasn't too good, we went into the ridge with Groupama and Telefonica and popped out fifth, but we believe being in the south is a better place to be overall. Even though Puma and Abu Dhabi made good miles on us overnight, we think by sticking to the south we'll be able to eat away some of those miles throughout today'.
This was a strategy that has paid dividends this afternoon (Thursday 31st) as the fleet started to compress as they turned their bows directly towards Lisbon. At the 1800 UTC position report Camper was 11nm from Puma who were currently defending third place.
Camper’s strategy is based around positioning. 'By staying south we should have a better angle into the finish, as we all make the final approaches the fleet is extremely spread out, normally everyone is on a straight line side by side with one another, but this time we are all finishing from wide angles. I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't lots of changes before the finish,' Chris Nicholson.
The final miles into the finish will see the the breeze soften and the remaining section will prove even more testing. With current, darkness and tide all working against the crews as they battle for the pivotal podium positions. 'The current could well be a problem, it is certainly one of the things to look at on the approach, the adverse current can be up to two knots, I think it will be a later finish than what is being predicted it's going to be a a very interesting night,' Skipper Chris Nicholson.
The current ETA for the first boat is from 2300 UTC on Thursday 31st into the early hours of Friday 1st June.
Volvo Ocean Race website