Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Auckland to Fiji : Day 2 for CAMPER ETNZ - The Most Difficult Part is Ahead

CAMPER ETNZ. Image copyright Chris Cameron/CAMPER.

by Will Oxley

0730 hours – 7/06/11
Location: 30 14S 176 30E
Conditions: WNW wind 7 knots

Dawn breaks over CAMPER with clear skies, and a barometer rising ever so slowly but surely as we approach the high pressure and lighter winds. Our massive masthead zero sail is earning her money as our boat speed continues to exceed wind speed by an impressive amount. The grib files, supported by satellite pictures, show that we are on the south east side of a diffuse high pressure system.

The grib shows a nice left hand shift as we sail into the eastern side of the high then a gybe onto starboard in southerly winds then a gradual build and continuing left shift till we get to the desired “south east Trades” direction. All this happens over the next 24 hours.

If ONLY it ends up being this easy. Doubtful I’d say and we expect the next 24 hours to be the most “difficult” part of the race. We just need to avoid a complete park up if we can help it and continue to try to wriggle our way through. With four equatorial crossings in the next Volvo Ocean Race this is all good practice for us.

Our main competition, Vodafone, have continued on their north east route. They look to have had some light winds and they are now 102nm further from the finish than us. I think we need about a 160nm lead when Vodafone enter the Trades to hold them off for the last 36 hours. So, even though 105 looks like a good lead, having raced against the Orma 60 tris in the Atlantic it’s still not enough!

Temperatures are still rising, especially below and as the only person from the tropics on board, I am especially happy about this. I have peeled off another lay of thermals while some are nearly down to shorts and t-shirt already.

Hopefully we will have some good news to report tomorrow morning if all goes well with the light winds today.