Team New Zealand's cunning pays off

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 26/05/2012

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Team New Zealand's round the world navigator Will Oxley declared leg seven "anybody's race" as the Kiwis staged a remarkable comeback.

Having been last and almost 100 miles off the pace early yesterday, Camper's decision to split from the fleet and head north paid huge dividends as they collected good winds that saw them rocket to third place and be within just two miles of the lead in this trans-Atlantic crossing to Portugal.With the leading yachts missing the frontal system that had looked likely to slingshot them east and divide the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, they eventually had to cover Camper's cunning move north.

But by then the Emirates Team New Zealand crew had reaped their rewards and the spread of the six yachts had compressed with usual straggler Abu Dhabi surprisingly in the lead and overall leader Telefonica second.

Oxley said the massive gains were the result of hard work but warned that unpredictable times lay in store.

"We're back in touch with the leaders though, and that's where we want to be," Oxley said as the lighter airs of a high pressure system engulfed the fleet.

"But it's still a pretty confused situation. This could be anybody's race so we just need to sail smart, maximise boat speed and do what we can to wriggle in front and stay there."

Oxley said they were also trying to maximise the last effects of the Gulf Stream eddies.

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- Wellington

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