Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand has secured second place on Leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, the team arrived into Cape Town on Sunday lunchtime, crossing the finish line at 10:48:04 UTC (27.11.11).
Camper now hold 29 points on the scoreboard as they remain in second place overall two points from the lead. A solid performance in the Cape Town In Port race could mean the potential to leading the race as the fleet departs for the second leg to Abu Dhabi on December 11th.
A silver lining to the leg came with news that Camper posted the biggest distance of the leg so far in the 24 hours from 1755 UTC on Wednesday as they blasted east through the South Atlantic riding a cold front. Camper’s 24-hour run of 554.16 nautical miles may have fallen short of the world record but it could be good enough to take the first IWC Speed Record Challenge trophy. Their distance puts them in contention for the award, which cannot be confirmed until Groupama complete leg one this week.
For skipper Chris Nicholson it was a clear indication of the performance of Camper and that there is more to come. 'On that day we were in the same breeze, the same weather pattern as Telefonica. We were able to beat them sched for sched, and to me that’s by far the highlight of this leg. The boat is pretty robust in these (fast) conditions. We don’t have a massive job list, touch wood we should get to Cape Town in one pieces, good foundation to be second and we have 8 months or racing left to go.'
It’s been one of the most unusual first legs of the Volvo Ocean Race, the weather systems have proved anything but conventional and for some of the teams it has been a war of attrition. From a dismasting in the first 24 hours onboard Abu Dhabi and major structural damage to Sanya, the fleet suffered a final casualty as Puma dismasted in the south Atlantic hundreds of miles from the finish in Cape Town. Three teams now face a race against time to make it to the start line for Cape Town’s In Port Race.
The shore team now have six days to prepare Camper for the first practice sail ahead of the Pro Am race on 9th December. Shore manager Neil Cox, 'Considering the situation some of the other teams are in, we are lucky to have a straight forward job list. We have some basic maintenance, which is always expected after the boat has been at sea for this many miles, but we feel happy that we’re in good shape and that we’ll be ready to sail from the beginning of next week. The boys have done a fantastic job on this leg and all credit to the designers, the guys at Cookson’s, Southern’s and to the shore team for doing such a great job in the preparation ahead of the start. We can be proud that we have come through the other side and will be ready to go for leg 2'.
For skipper Chris Nicholson, this leg has been frustrating but there are many positives both for him and the crew 'I guess at the end of this leg as I sit back at look at it the majority of things went right. We have good reliability and I'm pretty sure we had really good speed at times. We made a tactical error on the second day out, and we've been playing catch up ever since. I think it's kind of a new experience for most of us normally you have opportunities to correct your mistakes at some stage, and this it just hasn't been like that on this leg. Reliability wise, unfortunately Sanya broke their bow, and Abu Dhabi and Puma both dropped their rig, so touch wood we'll still make it to Cape Town without any major structural problems'.
'I was trying to judge it today, last race I came in Cape Town in second, and I was ecstatic, I was over the moon for where we were in the program. For us I don't think it's in the same magnitude I think we should have been first, or at least neck and neck pushing for first with the leading boat. We haven't been in the battle with them, but we tried our best to catch up. It was ‘the rich get richer race' and we weren't able to have another go at them. But we have to be content with second. At the end of the day I'm really happy with the points and we will live to fight another day'.
Overall results Leg 1 (27/11/11) 1. Telefonica 2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand 3. Groupama 521 miles to finish