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Volvo Ocean Race: Emirates Team New Zealand back in the game

On day twelve of Leg Three CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has moved up to third place in the Volvo Ocean Race and is now looking to make further gains close in by the Vietnam coast in rough conditions.

In a building headwind CAMPER is now committed to heading into the Vietnam coast and is positioned slightly to windward and only 40 odd nautical miles behind the two leading boats who are also heading inshore.

The fleet has split with Puma who is behind CAMPER choosing to pursue an offshore route.  CAMPER is expected to be off the Vietnamese coast within the next 12 hours and then faces 130 miles of short tacking up the coastline in what is expected to be a 25 to 30 knot headwind.

CAMPER Skipper Chris Nicholson says that it has been a solid 24 hours for the team but the coastal route offers further opportunities to make up ground.

“It’s a real game of chess out here at the moment. We’ve made the call to head for the coast along with the two front boats and we’re are  nicely positioned for the time being and looking at what is forecast. The big variable in hugging the coast like this is fishing boats and nets – coming off the wrong side of an encounter with them could cost us dearly.”

“There’s very little information on localised conditions in this part of the world as nobody really sails here so that makes things even harder. There’s actually probably a bit of an advantage in having Telefonica and Groupama hit the coast just in front of us as we can pick up on their mistakes or hazards they’ve encountered and do our best to avoid them.”

“The reality is the boat who can get up that coastline in the best shape, avoid any major debris, wind shadows or adverse currents has the potential to make big gains when it comes to heading back out to Sanya. We just need to ensure that boat is us.”

“We will be sensible about it but we will push hard in the rougher conditions and are looking to take miles out of the two boats in front of us. It should be an interesting few days.”

CAMPER in the latest position report at 1100h 2 February NZT is in third place 42.4 nautical miles behind first placed Telefonica and is averaging 12 knots in a 18 knot north easterly.

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