Hamish Hooper , on-board cameraman and writer for Camper, the first Volvo 70 launched for the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race, files this report on the yacht's first night at sea en route to Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand.
Is this the first taste of something a bit naughty?
The first overnighter on board CAMPER and the weather provided a good little taster of things to come. With 12- 20 knots and rain from start to finish the guys started with caution, easing into their work, wanting to gently nurse the boat into its work.
A very short while after and Camper was going very nicely… too nicely I was wondering? I looked around each of the guys and noticed a common expression: a half restrained grin like an addict getting a taste of something – knowing they shouldn’t but doing it anyway.
As we rounded the top of Coromandel Peninsula a call from Will Oxley, the navigator, from the hatch, 'Time to turn down boys: Let the dog off the chain!'
I thought we were going fast enough - obviously not.
Blasting down the coast of the Coromandel, in excess of 23 knots boat speed, harnesses and lifejackets on and a warning from Salty (Rob Salthouse): 'Clip on and don’t sit there unless you like sitting in the middle of raging torrents.'
His warning was seconds too late, a wave of water down the deck and straight into my left boot, sure to be wet for the duration of the rest of the around sea trials and NZ tour. Oh well, at least my right one is dry.
I move to somewhat ‘drier’ positions at the stern of the boat marveling at the speed we are travelling, happy to be harnessed in, and taking comfort from watching Nico on the helm doing a fine job of effortlessly keeping things under control, in what to me seems to be totally out of control conditions.
I cling on to what I can and pass comment to Mike Pammenter, 'Man, there is a bit on isn’t there Mickie!'
'No, no,' he says, 'this is nothing.'
I had better get used to it. I think I will.
CAMPER, the Emirates Team New Zealand yacht for the Volvo Ocean Race, sailed from Auckland on Monday 25 April for sea trials off the east coast of New Zealand.
The yacht left at noon in rain and 20knot north-easterly winds.
The yacht is calling in at five ports – Tauranga, Gisborne, Wellington, Dunedin and Lyttelton – during the next two weeks. While in port, the yacht will be open to the public from 9am to 11am. The itinerary is: Tauranga, Tuesday April 26; Gisborne, Friday April 29; Wellington, Monday May 2; Dunedin, Thursday May 5 and Lyttelton, Saturday and Sunday May 7 and 8.
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