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Volvo Ocean Race- CAMPER's tour of New Zealand continues

by Emirates Team NZ media on 4 May 2011
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand leave Auckland for their New Zealand tour. Chris Cameron/ETNZ© http://www.chriscameron.co.nz
The Emirates Team NZ campaigned Volvo 70 CAMPER, is continuing her tour of New Zealand, and is currently en route from Wellington to Dunedin:

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

CAMPER is on its way from Wellington to Dunedin and the crew is enjoying a good north-easterly breeze. Progress down the coast has been fast.

The yacht is ahead of schedule, although the breeze is expected to soften and progress will slow.

The port stop at Wellington was a great success. A large number of people were on the dock – any more and we would have had difficulty hosting them all.

In the afternoon Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club guests went sailing on the VO70 – and the breeze, which had been very soft all morning, died completely, and the rain came in.

CAMPER sailed for Dunedin just before dark, picking up the north-easterly and making progress down the coast.


Thursday, 28 April 2011

Rough, tough and an early arrival at Gisborne

Emirates Team New Zealand’s Volvo Ocean Race yacht CAMPER arrived at Gisborne from Tauranga 24 hours ahead of a Friday’s public open day.

Skipper Chris Nicholson reported this morning: 'We pushed through the night in 35-40 knots head winds. It was a really good test of crew and the yacht. The crew’s OK and the yacht performed really well.

Nicholson said he had heard about East Cape and how rough it could be in a southerly. 'It’s all true and the conditions gave us a taste of what we can expect when we race CAMPER around the world.'

'We had planned to do some more testing if we arrived early but it was better to enter Gisborne while we knew we could. We didn’t want to be late for tomorrow.'

CAMPER entered the port under sail and had only 150 metres to get the sails down and the engine started. 'That was a feat in itself,' Nicholson said.

Since CAMPER left Auckland on Monday, the boat has been in storm conditions which on land have brought down trees, caused flooding and damaged buildings.

From the on-board Blog:

Tauranga to Gisborne - 30/4/11


It was almost like Christmas morning waking up in Gisborne for two reasons; I’m in Gisborne & it’s the day of the Royal wedding. The rest of the Camper crew are equally as stoked to be in Gisborne - the first city in the world to see the sun each day, but unfortunately I don’t have a single other royal enthusiast in the crew- shit they are a hard bunch of guys- or maybe no one else wants to pipe up to the fact. If I have my way they will all be drinking their coffee out of Will & Kate wedding mugs for the entire race.

Right from 9am the crowds were lining up down the dock to get a glimpse of our world on Camper. And it didn’t seem to shrink for the entire 2 hours, a constant stream of locals coming through the boat.

Knowing we wanted to maximize the number of people we want to get through Camper, Nico devised a ‘tour guide’ system to keep the crew moving people through the boat. It worked rather well, unless you were behind Mike Pammenter, the boat captain, he tended to go into the intricate details of everything on boat, but the girls in his groups didn’t seem to mind. I’m not actually sure they were listening to him, just enjoying the moment.


We took a group out sailing later in the day from the Gisborne yacht club & a few lucky draw winners. Trae loved it the most I think because he was no longer the oldest on the boat for once. We had Trevor, the yacht clubs first commodore, age 89. He was like an excited child, took to the wheel like a pro, was so pumped by the experience he was straight to the bar for a Steinlager telling his 80 year old mate to stop being a softy and have a beer before his wife made him go home. Who is to argue with their elders?

That night in Gizzy was ideal with such a full schedule of viewing on TV; the Blues, The Breakers (Awesome work!) and of course the royal wedding! Kate looked stunning, the Queen was elegant, Harry was eyeing up the bridesmaid, but really I was most elated to see such a fine bald patch on the groom. I’ve been waiting for someone of recognition to bring my very own hair do mainstream. Nice one Willie!

Beautiful Gisborne morning the next morning, up early to set off to Wellington. As I’m getting my things sorted, Stu Bannatyne in his deep, commanding voice walks up and says, 'Hamish, I hear you are having trouble with your boots'

Stu is a man of few words, and when he speaks, he speaks with purpose and people listen. With the amount of experience Stu has, he has pretty much learnt all there is to learn in offshore sailing. 'Yes', I said, 'My left boot is always full of water'. I was preparing myself for some much needed advise on how to avoid this. Instead he says, 'Well here you go, here are some brand new ones.' Just like that my boot problems solved. Stu never ceases to amaze.

Off we go south, heading to Wellington. Imagine my surprise that for the first few hours the wind is on the nose again the seas state is pretty heinous, big & messy. Not long until I feel crook, not long until Trae gives me another pill, and then not much longer until I feel a bit better. I think I’m beginning to get the hang of this.

Gradually the seas state settles, the breeze dies down and we ease our way South.

Will Oxley pops his head up and says he has just received a second warning to look out for possible space junk in the area, he is prepared for anything! The only thing I see resembling a UFO is a brown paper bag flying millimeters past my nose thrown out from the hatch after Adam Minoprio has just finished making a mess in the toilet. The guys see how disastrous that could have been for me and take note - Adam will have to face consequences of such a flippant action at a later time.

Sun goes down, the guys gather around for story time, Andy McLean delights with stories of days gone by which begins a chorus of laughter. I prepared my best meal yet- Apricot chicken. These Back Country meals are pretty good when I can prepare them right!!

Pretty calm night, I slept fantastically & remained dry so another positive!

Everyone is up early , morning star jumps & chin ups, testing a few sails, messing around with a few other things, then engines on towards Wellington, no wind out here so a fair few more hours to go.

I’m no Will Oxley, but I’m pretty confident I’d bet a lot of money there will be wind by the time we get to Wellington.


Tauranga to Gisborne - 27th April 2011

What ever happened to sunny Bay Of Plenty? Howling winds, cold & no shortage of rain. Just as well the people are so nice & warm here.

A massive first turn out of people to look over the boat yesterday, down below on CAMPER resembled Auckland rush hour on the motorway for most of the morning. A fine lunch at the Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club made me somewhat uneasy. I’m beginning to think the crews food expectations are becoming a little higher than what I will eventually be able to deliver on board!

Early start to set off to Gizzy this and I listen into the weather forecast from Will Oxley – no wind from the north too much wind from the south… Oh well I just hope to hold on to my lunch from yesterday.

We set off east across the Bay of Plenty making good speed, looking forward to a good trip around East Cape. I procrastinate going below to start my inaugural freeze dried meal preparation. Things went well for 15 minutes of banging around down there, all of a sudden boiling three jugs of water and stirring some sweet & sour chicken seemed like climbing Mt Everest.

I begin to sweat and race for the hatch…. 10 sets of eyes watching me crawl towards the stern, looking a lighter shade of green. Luckily I manage to hold the contents of my stomach, but that’s the end of my first attempt of cooking for the crew. A complete failure.

Will Oxley jumps to my aid and takes over cooking, Chuny comes and pats me on the back points at the horizon and gives me some advice which I won’t forget, nor should repeat. He is a funny Spanish man.

Trae (Tony Rae) emerges with a smile and a small white pill, I ask him what it is? He replies,'not sure – I think it’s for when you’re pregnant'. I take the pill.

White Island was a highlight, until the wind stopped, guess Will was right, no wind from the North. Engines on, towards the East Cape.

A bit calmer so I get into another attempt at ‘cooking’. Beef risotto this time. I get through the process of making it - elated with myself for achieving such an accomplishment. Not a lot of dinner eaten tonight for some strange reason, which I later find out was my ‘cooking technique’, translated to; I messed up the water quanities. Hate to think what Nico is thinking about the ‘cook’ he hired!

By the end of the night I am pretty sure the guys are thanking me they didn’t have much dinner- here is the 35-40 knots from the south Will also mentioned – he is right again! He is a good navigator- seldom wrong!


It’s dark, howling, Camper is slamming off and into wave after wave. I’m lying in my bunk wondering if the tortured sounds the boat makes are normal, and if it is meant to hit waves so hard, 'Good engineers, good sailors- no problems.'

The first problem arises - how am I supposed to sleep? I decide it’s like trying to sleep on a camp stretcher, balanced on a bucking bronco, in a loud bar, with a running tap dripping water all over you. Oh well may as well give it a go…

It doesn’t go so well, so I start thinking again, 'What other sport in the world do they just switch the lights out and expect you to keep playing your sport the same as when its daylight?'

They don’t kill the lights at half time in a rugby match at Eden Park and say, 'carry on as you were.'

These mad men sailors just don’t slow down for darkness, its just a slight inconvenience. I stay in the bunk until daylight, emerge and see the seething conditions, which resulted in my sleeping difficulties. Wave hits - my left boot is wet again.

As we approach Gisborne, I can see the intensity on the guys faces grow - and see we have our hands full just to get into the port in Gisborne. Trusty Will Oxley is again pin-point accurate with his direction for Nico, amazing to think he knows every tiny detail of the bay and approach to the port and he has never been here in his life.

The shore guys are set in the chase boat to help in any way if we get in strife. Nico powers into the port with sails up and the engine at full tilt, huge swells to contend with and barely 100 metres to spin the boat on a dial, drop the sails and get back on course into the dock

He turns to me when we are safe and says, 'That was a bit hairy!'. I thought it looked like he and the crew could have done it with their eyes shut. Guess that’s how true professionals react under pressure.


Skippers Update - 28th April 2011
by Emirates Team New Zealand on Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 2:38pm


Last night was the first real hit out in anger for CAMPER. The infamous East Cape that everyone had warned us about lived up to it's reputation and dealt us 30-40 knot headwinds from midnight through to this morning. With high seas forecast we pushed hard to get to Gisborne as fast as possible. It was definitely the most difficult harbour entrance I have ever been in to and we were glad to reach the dock. The boat is now currently all cleaned up and ready for viewing between 9am and 11am tomorrow opposite the Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club at Gisborne Marina before we head off for Wellington. It has been an impressive push by both the shore team and sailing team at Emirates Team New Zealand to keep to schedule, nice work everybody.


Nico

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