Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Auckland to Fiji : CAMPER ETNZ Day 1, Heading North

Supplied image.

by Will Oxley

0700 Local time 06/05/2011

Location: 33 42S 175 52E
Conditions: NW wind 12 knots
Boat speed: 11 -12 knots

As dawn breaks after our first night at sea things are good onboard CAMPER. We are heading north and the weather is getting warmer and I am pretty happy about that. Naturally, the weather models have differed slightly from reality and we used the coastal observations and our eyes to work our way north in the afternoon and overnight . I’m starting to get to know the north east New Zealand coastline, and this will be helpful for the finish of Leg 4 into Auckland.

As I write this we are still over 20nm ahead of Vodafone which is a bit of a surprise, but I imagine once we hit the Trades they should come smoking past us. Until then though, there is a high pressure system to negotiate, and so hopefully we can manage to wriggle our way through it in good enough shape to at least make the competition closer for both of us. We had a trough lines pass over us in the night resulting in plenty of “water from the sky” and significant changes in wind strength and direction. Our radar overlaid on the Maxsea navigation package did an excellent job in helping us anticipate the wind changes and negotiate our way between the cells. This has also been a good opportunity to try out all of our navigation systems on board in a race situation and it is all working well.

Life is a little different with three “extras” on board. Our team photographer, one of our sponsors and Dalts are enjoying themselves. Dalts is starting to look a little twitchy though, as he is forcibly weaned off his mobile phone.

The forecast is for moderate to light WNW winds through until Tuesday morning then we have to negotiate the high to somehow end up on the north of it by early Wednesday, and into some decent SE Trade winds for our final 36 hours or so into Fiji. Bring on the sunshine!