Spain and New Zealand flags on Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Chris Nicholson from Australia, finishing leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil.
Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand epic Leg Five is over. A month after leaving Auckland Camper crossed the finish line off Itajai at just past midday April 17th local time/0300h 18 April NZT
It marks the end of a marathon leg for the team where they had to sail close to 3000 extra nautical miles and spend ten days more at sea than their rivals, after being forced to divert to Puerto Montt in Chile to carry repairs to the boat’s bow.
However, the crew’s determination to finish the leg has seen them grab fourth place and 15 points which is enough to retain their third overall position on the Volvo Ocean Race leaderboard.
After a month at sea the crew now have 24 hours off to rest and catch up with family and loved ones, before beginning to prepare for the in-port race on April 21, and the start of Leg 6 to Miami the following day.
The Camper shore crew have immediately swung into action with a mammoth job list ahead of them that needs to be completed over the next two or three days including completely removing the mast and rig for a full check-over.
Camper skipper Chris Nicholson says that completing the marathon leg reflects the strength of the team.
'It has been incredibly hard on all the guys, but just giving up and pulling out of the leg was never an option for us.
'We were determined to finish the leg and get the points for fourth place. We’ve done that and we’ve kept ourselves in the top three overall and in the hunt.
'There’s almost half of this race still to go and after some rest we’re going to come out fighting for the in-port on Saturday. This has made us more determined than ever before to win the next in-port, win the next leg and ultimately do our best to win the race.
'It’s a valuable 15 points we’ve got today. We won’t even know how valuable those points are until the end in Galway, but I have a feeling they’re vital.
'There’s a great spirit in this team and when you look at what we’ve achieved over the last two weeks or so it’s pretty impressive, and a lot of lesser teams would have pulled out. We choose the hardest option and achieved it, so I’m really proud of the guys – they deserve a beer and a hot shower.'
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand's crew are greeted by family and interviewed by the media, after finishing leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)