Crews from the Volvo fleet describe their thoughts on Christmas as they fight their way out of the Doldrums
As far as the tracking is concerned, the fleet of five is now out of sight as they race under the cloak of the Stealth Zone. Other than the organisers, no one knows where they are, where they are heading or when they will finish this leg. We have no idea when the fleet will be lifted onto the ship that will carry them to the Gulf of Oman where they will be re-launched and re-start leg 2.
But what we do know is that racing has been extremely tight with a number of lead changes and a re-shuffling of the five card pack. Just about everyone has led at some point, the most recent being Telefonica and before them Groupama. Currently it is Camper that has taken a jump on the fleet as they try to lock into the steadier breezes to the north of the Doldrums. Being first out of the light wind zone often proves to be the killer move.
But as we wonder where they are and where they are heading, the boats are still sending back media material including this clip of what Christmas means to them as they strip off while we all tuck in.
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CAMPER may have stolen the Leg 2 lead thanks to some very clever sailing through the Doldrums – but skipper Chris Nicholson says his team won’t be resting on their laurels just yet as the race is far from over.
“There’s an awful lot more to play out in this race,” the Australian said this morning as CAMPER turned their focus to out-and-out speed.
“We’ve just broken into a westerly breeze system so we have to wait until the next sched when the other boats have broken in too.
“Groupama will have a bit of leverage over us which is a little uncomfortable, it means they can drop the bow down and potentially go quicker, so we’ll have to monitor that. We also have to keep an eye on Telefónica.”
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand entered the Doldrums, a dynamic band of unpredictable weather south of the Equator, in fourth place behind Groupama sailing team, Team Telefónica and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG.
But after some lengthy debate around the navigation table between Nicholson, co-skipper Stu Bannatyne, navigator Will Oxley and co-navigator Andy McLean, a plan was hatched and by 0700 UTC it had paid off with CAMPER out in front by 20 nautical miles.
“Will and Animal [Andy McLean] had a good plan from the get-go in the last few days and we’ve been able to deliver on that plan up on deck,” Nicholson said.
“It’s been really pleasing to see the work that Will and Animal put in and the way we went about making the decisions. It’s quite a good feeling.”
Nicholson said CAMPER must now prove themselves in the fast reaching conditions which await them.
“We haven’t been fast reaching so far on this leg so we’ve got to dig our feet in and sail the boat how we want to sail it rather than get dictated to like we probably were before,” he added.
“We’re quite resolute to make sure we do a good job reaching across here. It’s not just a case of trying to get to the finish in first place, it’s part of saying to ourselves that we can match it on this type of angle and breeze.”