CAMPER Sails to Fiji

Chris Nicholson’s team will test its abilities in a 1141-nautical mile race from Auckland to Fiji, starting this Saturday.
“A good, long run would be a welcome change to the upwind sailing we experienced during the qualifying sail.”

The Auckland to Musket Cove Ocean Race will be an acid test for both the boat and the sailors. The yacht will be in full race mode, the crew will number 13 rather than the 11 permitted for the Volvo Ocean Race, but in all respects it will be a full-on few days. 19 boats will line up in total, with a mix of yachts including the historic Whitbread maxi, Lion New Zealand.

CAMPER’s Volvo Open 70 was relaunched on Thursday after spending some time in the shed at the team’s base in Auckland, undergoing a minor refit after their sea trials and the 2000-mile-long qualifying tour. A pull down test has been run to prove the structure of the boat. The hydraulic rams that power the canting keel are put under pressure to test they are safe.

“We are satisfied with the boat’s reliability with the hammering we got in the weeks after the launch,” commented Nicholson. 

“Now we are into tweaking systems and improving crew work so that when we get to the start line in Alicante in November, we are ready to go. The Fiji race is an early opportunity to bed in the watch system and work together as a crew,” he added. “If there are any shortcomings, we’ll find them and have time to correct them.”

CAMPER’s ideal weather scenario would be a moderate southwesterly for the start from Auckland and then they would hook into the southeasterly trades as they get closer to Fiji.

They will be looking for a following wind for their return voyage to Auckland. “We have some downwind sails that we want to test,” said the skipper, “and a good, long run would be a welcome change to the upwind sailing we experienced during the qualifying sail.”

The race starts at midday on Saturday, 4 June and you can follow live tracking of the fleet on the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron website.

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