Camper storm chasing in bid to play catch up

NICOLA ABERCROMBIE
Last updated 16:54 22/05/2012
Camper
Reuters
FLUID LEG: They botched their first opportunity but Team New Zealand's round-the-world yacht crew are sure more chances will come.

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Team New Zealand's Camper remains off the pace early in the seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Miami to Lisbon.

Camper took an early detour north looking for long-term gains from Tropical Storm Alberto, the weather system that could hold the key to a rapid, unorthodox trans-Atlantic crossing.

At its centre, Alberto holds gale-force winds of 35 knots but the teams are trying to exploit the lesser, more favourable breeze further from the eye of the storm that could catapult them across the Atlantic.

Leg leaders Groupama are currently reaping the rewards of their decision to head east early, and have built a comfortable 32nm lead over second placed Puma.

Overall race leaders Telefonica are in third almost 40nm behind Groupama.

Camper navigator Will Oxley admitted Groupama's perfect timing has forced the rest of the fleet to play catch-up.

"It was a tricky transition heading east and Groupama did a much better job of it than everyone else and managed to get away from the rest of the fleet."

Despite being almost 60 nautical miles behind Groupama, Camper are hurtling along at almost 20 knots, around three knots faster than the leaders.

Just 14 points separate Telefonica, Groupama and Camper at the top of the points table, and a podium finish in this leg is crucial if the New Zealand boat is to remain in the race for first.

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