Team NZ's Camper fourth in Miami racing
Team New Zealand's Camper will try to blot out the disappointment of a crucial blunder in Miami's in-port race as they head off tomorrow to cross the Atlantic in leg seven of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The big red New Zealand boat chose the wrong sail to start today's in-port race, misreading what the breeze would do, and had to battle from behind to claim fourth place in the six-boat fleet.
Abu Dhabi Racing took the race honours - the third time in this event they have won the in-port sprint - while Telefonica's overall lead became slimmer as they were last boat home, penalised for hitting a mark.
Only 14 points now separate the top four boats, with Camper third overall. Ken Read's Puma has clawed to within a point of the Kiwis, as they rolled them on the finishline today, snatching third by 0.9 of a second.
Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said his crew made "an obvious mistake" when they chose a small jib for the first beat.
"Everybody left the decision late and we should have left it later and chosen a bigger jib. I look around the fleet and there were mistakes across the board," he said afterwards. "I am disappointed because we could have made big inroads today. It was an opportunity that was almost there but we didn't quite deliver on it."
New crewman Nick Burridge, who has replaced the injured Mike Pammenter, said his introduction to the crew was a "pretty busy day".
"We made some good progress and ended up third, but Puma came right under us right at the finish line which was pretty disappointing."
One team not so frustrated by missing out on a podium finish was Team Sanya, who, Kiwi skipper Mike Sanderson said, were simply pleased to be in the race, after missing the last two legs of the race.
"We want to be in the hunt. It didn't go particularly well for us today, we were up to second or third for a while and then we were a bit unlucky at the bottom mark; a third was on the cards but we ended up fifth. But it was a fun race," said Sanderson.
For the first time since leaving Auckland, all six boats that started this race in Alicante last October will line up tomorrow for the 3580-mile leg to Lisbon, Portugal.
Miami In-Port Race results:
1 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 74:09
2 Groupama sailing team, +00:33
3 Puma Ocean Racing powered by BERG, +02:02
4 Team New Zealand Camper, +02:11
5 Team Sanya, +2:35
6 Team Telefónica, +6:28