Camper recovers to finish third in opening round of Volvo Ocean Race

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand battle with Telefonica on the final leg. Alicante In Shore Race of the Volvo Ocean Race. 29/10/2011.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has had a frustrating day in the first in-port race of the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race, but still managed a podium finish, sailed in Alicante, Spain.

The light, shifty conditions made for challenging conditions which resulted in the course being shortened to four legs and saw CAMPER finishing third behind Abu Dhabi and Puma.

After starting strongly in a moderating 10 to 12 knot North/North Easterly and sitting in second place for the first two legs, CAMPER suffered from a slow mark rounding to slip to last before battling back through the fleet to take third place pocketing four points.

Skipper Chris Nicholson says that it was incredibly tricky sailing conditions.

'At times we had 40/50 degree wind shifts and pressure dying away to almost nothing. These boats do get sticky in light conditions and that really showed out there today.

'The amount of changes in the fleet position and boats going from second or third to dead last show what a gamble it was.

'I’m a little frustrated that we didn’t make the most our strong start and suffered from a poor mark rounding, but nonetheless we fought back and got those vital points.

'We’ve been saying all along how close this race will be and today proved that beyond doubt. Every boat out there looked like at times it could win the race. Nobody can be taken for granted.

'Now it’s time for us to focus on leg one and ensuring that we deliver in the offshore conditions these boats were designed for.'

In-port races take place in all 10 host ports along the 39,000 nautical mile route and deliver over 20 percent of the points. They are sailed close to shore over short, sharp courses requiring multiple sail changes.

The first offshore leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, a 6,500 mile race from Alicante to Cape Town, starts on November 5.