It is a nervous time for Team Telefónica’s navigator Andrew Cape having “rolled the dice” and laid his bet on a course that has placed his team in the lead, but also at one end of a major split in the fleet.
Telefónica took the lead from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing this afternoon as the fractured fleet spanned more than 100 nautical miles across the Indian Ocean heading east.
The Spanish team remain further north along with Abu Dhabi, in the middle is Team Sanya and PUMA Ocean Racing Powered by BERG, while CAMPER and Groupama sailing team are the most southern.
The overall race leader’s northern exposure is not so much the result of a “super plan” Cape explained not long after steering his team safely across the notorious Agulhas Current on Wednesday.
It was more a result of the team having played the tricky shifts they were constantly dealt as they sailed around the bottom of South Africa, the five-time race veteran said.
“I think it’s just a matter of working exactly with the winds you have at the time and making the most of them,” he said. “There’s no super plan because it just changes so quickly here. You just have to make the best of what we’ve got.”
But as the gaping divide extended this afternoon to the greatest in the leg so far, Cape admitted he was sitting on the edge of his seat at his nav-station.
“It is tense. You have to be nervous because the outcome is uncertain, but I’m confident as well,’’ he said.
“There’s 130 miles between us and Groupama now, so that’s quite a big split. It’s going to be very interesting.
“These things can go either way. Really it’s a roll of the dice, and you place your bets.”
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman/trimmer Rob Salthouse said that while the split created nervous times, they were in a good position.
“Not a lot of nerves from our side of it,’’ he said. “But I can understand why the other guys have done it, sort of tried to sail in flatter smoother water for longer and use the breeze that was on the shore.
“Their trouble will come a little later on when they try to get east and they’ll struggle to get east and it’s normally the key to heading north up the Indian Ocean. They may have it right at this time, but it’s not telling us what we think it should be.”