by Lucy Harwood
Volvo Ocean Race - Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand reached their pit stop in Puerto Montt, Chile at 2100 local time on Tuesday night. The shore crew, led by Neil Cox, wasted no time in assessing the hull with a full ultrasound survey to check for no further unseen damage. Camper are confident of resuming racing in leg five to Itajai over the weekend with repairs on the boat’s damaged bow section expected to take three to four days.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand’s Roberto Bermudez de Castro is greeted by Officers of the Chilean Navy upon arrival into Puerto Montt, Chile, where the team will perform repairs to their Volvo Open 70, during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Skipper Chris Nicholson, competing in his fourth Volvo Ocean Race and no stranger to adversity, said his team was determined to reach Itajai in time to compete in the in-port race.
'When things are tough this is the type of team that can do it - I’ve got total faith in them,' he said. 'As long as the weather plays ball we’ll be there on time ready to go.'
Having seen it all before, Nicholson is taking the latest setback in his stride: 'This is all part and parcel of the race,' he said. 'This certainly hasn’t been one of the worst times, it’s certainly been a darker time but this is another bump along the way and it will be up to the team to step up. It’s quite a challenge ahead of us to get the boat repaired and back on track for in-port racing in Itajai.'
Nicholson was taken aback by the warm reception his team received from the locals in Puerto Montt: 'Already people have been out in nasty conditions today. That’s the thing, we have to understand how big and far-reaching this event is,' he said. 'These people know about this race, they know about these teams, they know about us and we should always remember what a privilege it is to be part of this sport.'
Nicholson believes the team will leave Chile in good shape: 'The boat will be back better than it ever was and to me the crew still feels really solid,' he said. 'The guys are still all in good spirits, and that’s not an easy thing. Certainly we weren’t in good spirits when the damage was done and shortly afterwards. But you see people bounce back day by day.'
Shore crew manager Neil Cox said on Tuesday he was hopeful of a quickfire pit stop: 'During the course of all this work our sailing team will be getting their heads around the remaining leg as well as any other boat detailing, and with all best intentions and a little luck we hope to be in Brazil and in a position to finish the leg and compete in the in-port race there,' he said.
Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand website