Leg Four of the Volvo Ocean Race has come to a thrilling culmination in Auckland with CAMPER and Telefonica crossing the finish line less than two minutes apart in front of a huge crowd of supporters on and off the water.
After 20 days of sailing and over 5000 nautical miles there was just 1m:33s separating the two boats after CAMPER launched a determined last minute fight-back to grab a podium finish in their home port.
CAMPER, Puma and Telefonica had been engaged in a tense duel since reaching Cape Reinga yesterday, however as daylight broke CAMPER was lagging some miles of the pace. Undeterred, Chris Nicholson and his crew launched a fierce attack on Telefonica and as the two boats rounded North Head had closed the gap to just a few hundred metres.
However, it was not to be CAMPER’s day and despite the cheers of the thousands of Aucklanders who had lined every possible vantage point the team was just edged out by Telefonica.
After almost three weeks at sea and an intense final 48 hours match race CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson was disappointed not to secure a top three finish, but overwhelmed with the welcome.
“You have two emotions. One of disappointment as we were so close to getting Telefonica but the other is really humbling. It was an amazing reception for the team.
“It’s just fantastic to be welcomed like this and makes for a very special homecoming for everyone. On behalf of the guys I’d just like to thank everyone for coming out and supporting us today. The race does not get this amount of support and following in other places. It was amazing today the spirit and the amount of people that have come here – it is not only good for the Volvo Ocean Race but good for the sport of sailing.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have enough race track in the end but we certainly were not giving up without a fight.
” This was a brutal leg and we had to sail an extra 1500 miles just to get here. We were in bad sea states most of the time – just generally not pleasant sailing. The reality is that in tight reaching conditions we are a click or two slower than the Juan K boats (Puma, Groupama, and Telefonica) so when you have a leg where’s there 4000 miles of tight reaching we’re going to struggle.
“We have proved today coming into Auckland that we are strong running. The next leg is all about running so watch us go. Today has charged us up – we’ve seen the support we have and we want to return some of that so we’re going to come out firing.”
After today’s result CAMPER is now third overall in the Volvo Ocean Race with four of nine legs completed.