Saturday, 4 June 2011

Auckland - Fiji : CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand Returns to the Race

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand - back in the race to Musket Cove, Fiji. Image copyright Chris Cameron/CAMPER.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

The organisers of the Auckland-Musket Cove race, otherwise known as the Fiji race, have had to delay the start of their event for 24 hours. This has made the CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand team rethink their participation in the race and they have now decided to compete.

It was announced on Saturday (New Zealand time) that the start would be delayed due to gale-force winds. Today the wind was a constant 40 knots across the start line, with gusts of 50 knots in the Hauraki Gulf.

Emirates Team New Zealand withdrew CAMPER from the race on Friday because forecasts indicated head winds all the way to Fiji and on the return sail. That meant little chance of the team being able to do the down-wind sail testing they require. But due to the time delay, the team is now expecting new conditions for the race, which will be useful in its training.

Emirates Team New Zealand meteorologist Roger Badham explained the team’s decision, "The gale-force winds and low-pressure system is moving to the south of Auckland tonight. With the race start delayed by the RNZYS officials by 24 hours, the nature of the race has changed considerably.

"A more varied wind regime is now expected with both upwind and downwind conditions ranging from eight to 18 knots. CAMPER should reach Fiji on Thursday and from there, the team plans to do some testing in the south-east trades winds by heading west and using the downwind conditions varying from 15 to 25 knots.

"It is then planned to come south again during the following week and use some pre-frontal north-northwest conditions for more downwind testing."

Skipper Chris Nicholson said today now the team could achieve both of the original goals, to go racing and to tick off a considerable amount of the down-wind sail testing.

"We are very happy that we can go racing. It will be a good test for the boat and crew. Then we can settle down to do some serious testing on the way home."

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand
Auckland - Fiji Race