After Friday’s tactical split in the fleet where leg leader PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read/USA) chose the high road to the north east, taking Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) with them, and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) went west in search of better breeze, at 0700 GMT this morning it was ‘situation normal’. PUMA led CAMPER, now back in second place, by 11 nautical miles and Telefónica were third, 18.7 nm astern in what is now a drift off.
The exhilarating tradewind sailing of previous days, that even put a smile on the faces of Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas/FRA) and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) who are 59.4 and 72.4 nm behind PUMA, has been replaced by glassy conditions and low boat speeds as the fleet enters the final 1,000 nm stretch to Miami. It is frustrating for the weary crews to be so near to the finish, and yet face what may be the deciding factor of the leg at this late stage.
After yesterday’s excitement when CAMPER took the small window of opportunity offered and shot through a relatively small and shallow gap between Anguilla and Scrub Island, saving them around five miles, the leading three have compressed the lateral separation from over 100 nm yesterday, to 25 nm this morning.
“It’s been a high risk game of chess for the last 24 hours,” said CAMPER skipper Nicholson. "At the end of today, it looks like we are going to resume in very similar pieces of water. I am honestly not sure which boats will be the most relieved, but we are looking forward to the next rematch."
Overnight, Groupama led Abu Dhabi on a westerly course and made some significant gains, closing their deficit to within 60 nm of PUMA after days of being over 100 nm behind.
In the light and fluky conditions, which bring rain squalls with them, the crews are constantly adjusting trim, trying new sails and gybing around the clouds in an effort to make small gains and reduce the chance of becoming becalmed. It is going to be a long, hard slog to Miami in a race, which should conclude around Wednesday, May 9.
DTL DTLC BS DTF
1 PUMA 0.00 +0 4.2 985.6
2 CMPR 11.00 -1 3.3 996.6
3 TELE 18.70 +1 4.2 1004.3
4 GPMA 59.50 +17 10.2 1045.1
5 ADOR 72.40 +12 10.3 1058.0
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