Vovlo Ocean Race leg 3.
Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand
The crew aboard Camper may be facing gale force winds and huge seas but with confidence; they feel that they are now sailing into their comfort zone.
Chris Nicholson’s team spent so long bashing upwind during their training for the Volvo Ocean Race that the 35-knot winds forecast to pummel the fleet within the next 24 hours as they race through the South China Sea are little worry for them.
Camper’s first real challenge after launching their brand new boat came with a race around New Zealand, their early campaign base. 'When we did the sail round New Zealand it seemed the wind and tide were always against us, and we regularly had winds over 30 knots,' Minoprio added.
Once in the northern hemisphere in the build-up to the race there was still no let-up for Camper.
After a month-long break while their Volvo Open 70 was shipped from New Zealand to the UK, the team’s return to the water saw them fight their way through atrocious conditions in the English Channel en route to Alicante. Now, locked in battle with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing for fourth place in the second stage of Leg 3 to Sanya in China, Camper are banking on the punishing conditions they faced during training paying off.
Skipper Ian Walker onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, chasing down CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in the Strait of Malacca, during leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China.
'We’ve got upwind sailing which is what we’re used to, and we’ve made good gains on Abu Dhabi so things are looking up,' Minoprio said.
'We were behind them but over the last eight hours we took the left and got a nice shift and got ahead of them.'
'There’s a good 1,000 miles left to China and even further if you choose to hug the coast of Vietnam. There will be four knots of tide and loads of fishing nets and lots of wind shifts. There’s still a lot of race left and anything could happen.'
Volvo Ocean Race website