CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has saved the best for last taking out the final leg of the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race and with it securing a virtually unassailable grasp on second overall in the race.
CAMPER crossed the finish line in Galway at 1:42am local time seven minutes in front of second placed Groupama to a rapturous welcome from thousands of local fans. It is the team’s first win in an offshore leg and delivers 30 vital points that means CAMPER simply needs to complete the Galway In-Port race on Saturday to secure second overall in the race.
The result signals a remarkable comeback for the team who only two legs ago were sitting in fourth place but are now likely to walk away with second overall, the 24 hour distance record for the race and are in with a good shot at winning the in-port series.
The leg win did not come easily with CAMPER having to overcome an pre-start penalty, several lead changes, reaching conditions that have historically not been the boat’s strong point and a last minute charge from Groupama before claiming the long awaited victory.
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that the win is a fantastic result for the team.
“The whole team delivered today and I’m very, very happy for everybody who is part of this programme.
“I look at what everyone does day in day out and I think this is the sailing team’s way of saying thank you. We just had a really good leg – the tactical calls, and the crew work were by far the best we’ve ever been able to produce.
“Winning a leg gets a huge monkey off our back. Everything needed to happen this leg and we delivered . What a way to finish the race.
“We went quite light with our weight on board – we had everything geared up for port tack. There were a couple of tactical calls this afternoon which had a big part to play. We tried not to think about it but we knew the whole race depended on those decisions. Some of the sail changes we did on the last night were in full-on conditions. Every team did them but we did them and nailed them.
“The test of a team is that if you fall over you can then get up and stand up again. We passed that test over the last nine months and I’m just delighted for the guys.”
The CAMPER crew now have several days off before getting back out on the water for the final act of the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race, the Galway In-Port race on Saturday