Ocean race crews come to crawl in Atlantic

Last updated 15:43 31/05/2012
Team New Zealand

The brick wall is dead ahead and the VOR fleet is compressing as it approaches Lisbon. Will the race restart?

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The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is inching their way to their next stop in Lisbon, with wind speeds reducing racing to a crawl.

New Zealand's Camper has jumped up one spot to fourth but a calm patch has slowed them to just 2.7 knots.

The entire fleet are bunched together, with less than 25 nautical miles separating Abu Dhabi in first from Sanya in sixth.

The slow going is in stark contrast to the last few days which saw the fleet reach speeds of over 20 knots.

The last placed Sanya are making the most of the very little wind available, travelling the fastest at five knots, while overall race leaders Telefonica are barely moving at one knot and have dropped to fifth.

The first boat out of the light air zone will have a significant advantage as the fleet closes in on their destination, with solid northerly Portuguese trade winds expected to build to about 15-18 knots on the final day.

Camper will desperately want to be one of the first boats to catch the wind, with a top three finish crucial if they are to continue to challenge for the overall lead.

There could be another twist as they reach Lisbon, however, with the possibility of patchy and shifty wind as they near the coast.

Latest estimates have the leader crossing the line late-morning or early-afternoon tomorrow (NZT).

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- Fairfax Media

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