Team New Zealand’s Camper has surrendered their place at the front of the Volvo Ocean Race in search of better breeze for the race home to Auckland.

Camper led the way through the South China Sea but rounding the southern tip of Taiwan the fleet split up, with some continuing south to Auckland and others heading northeast for the breeze.

Sanya led the fleet this morning (NZT) due to their decision to stay on the southern track, but fourth-placed Camper looks to be in the best position to capitalise when the wind shifts north.

Camper’s navigator Will Oxley told the Ocean Race website that even though it’s hard to believe, sailing away from Auckland at this stage is their best option.

"We’re hoping we only need to go north for another 60 miles. In the short term it’s better to be east and north of the fleet, but in the long term east is where you want to be.

"Unfortunately that means tacking upwind and going north, which seems ridiculous and it’s pretty hard to convince people, but all of the models are showing it’s the right thing to do."

The chase for wind has put Camper 14.8 nautical miles behind Sanya, with Abu Dhabi Racing and Groupama in second and third respectively.

Overall leaders Telfonica took a brief lead when the fleet sailed out of the Luzon Strait but their decision to head south early has proved costly. They are now back in fifth and 32.4 nautical miles off the lead.

The six-boat fleet still has more than 4500 nautical miles to go before they reach Auckland around March 11.

 
SOURCE: stuff.co.nz
 
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