Camper skipper, Chris Nicholson, described their end to end win in the Auckland Inport Race, as a dream result for the team.
Nicholson led his crew of 11 sailors to an end to end win in the sprint event, which counted for five points.
'We treat the points like gold, said Nicholson after the race, welcoming the reduction in overall points margin between his team and overall leader, Telefonica which finished last in the six boat fleet.
Sailing in a moderate to fresh easterly breeze, which was gusting over 20kts at the entrance to the Waitemata harbour, Camper just pullled away from the rest of the fleet, demontrating her upwind ability. She is rated on this point of sailing as being the best in the six strong fleet.
The win was Camper's first in five InPort events, and was watched by a crowd that was impossible to estimate given that they lined the length of the Waitemata harbour, on the water, from the surrounding hills and buildings, and in the Viaduct harbour area itself, where the official counted estimate was 40,000 alone. It is expected that official estimates would top 100,000 spectators.
The event was also shown live on free to air television in a two hour program. Certainly Auckland lived up to its reputation as the City of Sails, and once again demonstrated its passion for the round the world racers - Volvo and Whitbread.
'The support we have had here, not just this week, but since the race began has just been great', said Nicholson. 'If you wrote the dream script for this race, this would be it.'
'The amphitheatre was restricted by spectator craft, so there wasn't a huge amount of local knowledge required, but it certainly didn't hurt us. The tide was a big factor, but I think everyone was onto it. We had a clear plan, but it was hard to exceute it - that was the difference.'
Nicholson was referring to the wharf hugging course adopted by Camper, to avoid the worst of the incoming Auckland tide which would have been flooding at two kts - significant even for these 70fters which sail upwind at 10-12kts.
Looking ahead to the start of Leg 5 to Brazil, and the weather expected for this first five days at least as the fleet gets away from the New Zealand coast, Nicholson said they expected to see 30-40kts if they headed south. 'It is all pretty high risk stuff. Where you go in the first five days won't win you the race, but it can certainly lose it. It will depend on how hard everyone is prepared to push their boats, I guess. But you have to have your eye on the big picture with this one.'
'We've taken a few knocks on the chin since the start at Alicante, and hopefully this result is something that we can build off. We are a solid program - that has not changed since Day 1. This result today shows what we can do,' he added.
by Richard Gladwell
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6:56 PM Sat 17 Mar 2012GMT
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