CAMPER has made a super start in preparations for the Volvo Ocean Race, surprising most experts by finishing second behind a big multihull in the Auckland-Musket Cove race. After four racing days and 1,141 miles, CAMPER crossed the finish line of the Auckland Fiji race (9 June) just 10 minutes behind the winner.
The Volvo Open 70 led for most of the race before finally being pipped by the 60-foot trimaran Team Vodafone – an outstanding racing premiere for Chris Nicholson’s team.”The final stages developed into a battle between a monohull and a trimaran,” says skipper Nicholson. “Unbelievable, really. The battle added a lot of interest to the final stages.
“We hoped we could hold them off but once we got into the south-east trades the conditions suited a 60ft multihull. We were averaging 17-18 knots and they were hitting 25. It was only a matter of time before our 150-mile plus lead disappeared.”
Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad, a former Olympic sailor, paid tribute to CAMPER´s performance. “This was a like a rally car – built for all conditions – taking on a Formula One machine and only losing when they both reached the F1 track at the end of the race,” he said.The navigation and tactical decisions from the start worked to CAMPER’s advantage as they pulled ahead of the competition.
Their hard-earned lead, which at one point stretched to 174 miles, was slowly whittled away over the final 24 hours as the multihull was able to make bigger gains from a following wind. A delighted Nicholson said the team had achieved its objectives despite its brave, narrow defeat in a race it was never expected to win.
“It was a good shakedown of yacht systems and crew under race conditions. We sailed a good race. The yacht went really well and I couldn’t fault the crew work.”CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand did not stop in Fiji. The yacht stayed long enough to drop managing director Grant Dalton and headed back to sea for the voyage home and a heavy programme of sail testing.
This post is a reblog. It was originally posted at Volvo Ocean Race.