by Lucy Harwood
Volvo Ocean Race - The Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand crew crossed the line in Sanya on Saturday after 12d 23h 28m 23s and a hard earned 3000 miles, to take third place on Leg 3. In claiming the final podium position, Chris Nicholson and his crew retain second place on the leaderboard, but the battle for a first winning leg continues.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Chris Nicholson from Australia finishes third on leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Abu Dhabi, UAE, to Sanya, China.
After a tactical decision in the Malacca Straits saw Camper slip to fifth, the crew worked hard to pull back the miles on the boats in front of them and secure a podium finish.
Writing from onboard this morning, MCM Hamish Hooper said: 'The guys are truly exhausted, they have really dug it in massively since things didn’t go our way in the Malacca Straits. Since it became evident that our decision didn’t work out and we were leaving the Singapore Straits in fifth position, there hasn’t been a hint of negativity or even disappointment, just the unspoken desire and grit to work as hard as it takes to claw our way back up the fleet as far as we possibly could. And the guys have all done that.'
The last 1000 miles have seen the fleet battle it out along the Vietnamese coastline with a tacking extravaganza.
Hooper added: 'How many tacks have we done in the last three days? I purposely didn't count the stacks and tacks. Everyone on the boat just put their head down and got stuck in to the work that had to be done. We started nice out of the Maldives and we were level pegging with the leaders. There were a couple of crunch moments approaching the Malacca Straits, and in the Straits where we went down the more traditional route along the Malaysian coast. We left the Straits in fifth, so to work our way to third is a good result in the end.'
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Chris Nicholson from Australia finishes third on leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Abu Dhabi, UAE, to Sanya, China. (Credit: Marc Bow/Volvo Ocean Race)
Skipper Chris Nicholson vented his frustration at having failed to apply more pressure on the leading pair.
'There’s still a lot of thought required about how we can start winning legs,' he said. 'We’re able to match the leaders for certain periods of the race, and then kind of let ourselves down occasionally. Like everyone does it, all the teams do it, but maybe I’m a little bit more conscious of it than most.
So we just have to keep working on that, go back with the designer to see if there is anything more in regards to how we are sailing the boat, and actually rest up a bit here at this stopover. Even though we haven’t done a lot of miles in the last month as such, it’s been a long month in regards to the Abu Dhabi stopover, the sprint legs, the shipping out of the Maldives. It’s been quite a logistic and sailing exercise, so (we’ll have) a good rest up here, and come out with some good training and attitude for the in-port race.'
Nicholson insisted the focus was now on delivering a winning performance. Asked if the gap between Camper and Telefonica could be bridged, he replied: 'Are Telefonica quick? Yes. Are are they unbeatable? No.'