CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has taken a hard fought second in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race. After an intense battle with Puma that saw the two teams sailing neck and neck for several days CAMPER finished just a few miles behind the American boat.
CAMPER was relentless in applying pressure during the nail biting duel and at one stage in the final 24 hours closed to within 0.6 nautical miles (nm) of Puma as the two boats battled down the Florida coastline.
CAMPER was in the hunt for the lead throughout the 17 day leg from Itajai with much of the 4800 nautical mile contest more resembling a match race than an ocean race as Puma, CAMPER and Telefonica raced in sight of each other.
In the last few days of the leg some smart sailing from Puma and CAMPER saw them pull away from the main pack and establish a 60 nm buffer on the trailing boats as they went onto fight it out for first and second place respectively.
The second place sees CAMPER pick up 25 valuable points, retaining third overall and closing the points gap with overall race leaders Telefonica. If Groupama finish behind Telefonica in Leg 6 CAMPER will move to second overall.
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that despite missing out on first place he’s pleased with the result.
“This has been a good leg for us. In conditions that didn’t always suit us we sailed well and were relentless in pressing for the lead. The last leg was tough for us so I’m really happy with the way we’ve bounced back and with the fact we’ve arrived here in good shape.
“It’s been a long leg and PUMA have sailed very nicely, they have defended very well, but I think we have attacked well too. I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone. We’re in better shape now for the next leg that’s for sure
“We saw a lot of good things from both us and Puma in this leg and I think that bodes well for us in the rest of this race.
“This race is becoming so tight that every point is going to count. After this leg any one of the top four boats could be in the running to win.
“It’s very close and as we head to Europe I think there’s every chance that it could come down to the wire in Galway and that suits us.”
The crew of CAMPER now have their first real break in three months with racing resuming with the Miami in-port race on May 19.