CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has closed its 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race campaign with a second in the Galway In-Port race. The result secures the team second overall in the race and second in the In-Port series.
The result marks the end of a two year campaign, nine months of racing, over 43,000 nautical miles of sailing, and closes the chapter on an epic odyssey in one of the toughest and longest sporting events in the world.
In a north/north east breeze of 10 to 14 knots CAMPER were first out of the starting blocks leading off the downwind start as the fleet split with CAMPER, Abu Dhabi and Telefonica going for the right hand side, while Puma, Groupama and Sanya went for the left.
However, CAMPER’s lead was short-lived as the port side of the course enjoyed better breeze that propelled Puma into first place, where they stayed for the rest of the race.
CAMPER and Groupama then engaged in a thrilling scrap for second place that saw the two teams fighting tooth and nail until the very last mark where some superb crew work and a perfectly judged lay line saw CAMPER roll Groupama at the final mark rounding and cement second place.
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that the result is a satisfying one for the team.
“Full credit to Puma for the win here today. We had a terrific battle with Groupama all the way round and it was very enjoyable to roll them at the end and cement in second place.
“ A second overall, a second in the InPort Series and the 24 hour distance record for the race is a very good feeling. This is the easiest race to lose so to be runners up makes us very happy and proud of our team who have shown great character the whole way round.
“To reflect back on it I think this is a great result in the end. Our struggles at times over this campaign have been obvious but we’ve persevered and have come through the other side in great shape and with our heads held high.
“Our biggest low was breaking the boat on Leg 5 when we were leading the leg and leading the race overall. That’s where we saw winning the race slip away from us. But the biggest high was winning this last leg into Galway. We had good tactics and good speed and the result propelled us into second overall.
“It has been a tough, well fought campaign and it is been a honour to share it with such a great group of guys. This is a great way to finish it off and I’d just like to give a huge thank you to all our fans and supporters who have persevered, hung in there and supported us through thick and thin.
“Hopefully this goes a little way towards thanking you for all the support along the way and I hope we get to do this again.”
The CAMPER crew will be presented with their prizes for overall runner up and 24 hour distance record holders at the Volvo Ocean Race Grand Finale Dinner tonight in Galway, Ireland.