Thursday, March 8, 2012

Six Of The Best

The New Zealand "summer that never was" is presenting a challenge as the Volvo Ocean Race heads to Auckland.
A developing low around Fiji has given 4th-placed NZ/Spanish boat Camper only a slim chance of winning the fourth leg of the round-the-world
Meteorologists feel a
24-hour drag-race south is on the cards before the six boats turn towards NZ's North Cape, and slug it out against the wind to the finish in Auckland. The first boat is expected to arrive in Auckland on Saturday...
but head of the Camper/Emirates Team NZ syndicate Grant Dalton believes Camper "just isn't fast enough" to take line honours. While many hoped for the NZ-flagged boat to lead the six-boat fleet into Auckland - to mark the return of the race to the city after 10 years - Camper is struggling in fourth spot, 200 miles behind leading French boat Groupama with less than 1000 miles to sail in this fourth leg.
However Dalton is not giving up hope of Camper winning the race overall. It will rely on its robustness and heavy airs strength to propel it through the only Southern Ocean leg - Auckland-Brazil, starting 18th March: "It's a very short stopover here, and there'll be a huge element of fatigue in all the boats. Some will manage it, some won't. Little things creep in at this point. The Southern Ocean can be easy and it can be hell. Heading down, you always get one boat damaged on the way to the Horn." Dalton is banking on Camper surviving the southern latitudes and taking opportunities where it can for the rest of the race.
In the meantime, a free public party has been lined up at the Race Village in the Viaduct. A rolling programme of entertainment will run for 12 hours each day, from 9am-9pm. The days are being themed around the home nations of the participating yachts – China, France, NZ, Spain, United Arab Emirates and the US, as well as Brazil because it's the next stopover and Ireland because that's where the race will finish. The yachts will be moored in Pit Lane, where visitors can get a closer look at the world's fastest monohulls.

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