by Thomas Pryor
Family and shore crew welcome Camper after the finish of leg three in Sanya, Hainan province of southern China. Chris Nicholson and his son Banjo. Volvo Ocean Race 2011- 12.
After thirteen days at sea Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand has taken third place in Leg 3 and has retained their second overall position in the Volvo Ocean Race.
At the end of an exhausting last few days beating up the Vietnamese coastline Camper managed to hold off Puma to cross the finish line at 1528 local time/2028 NZT continuing their run of podium finishes.
However, it was a case of missed opportunities for Camper who despite a spirited fight-back did not manage to recover vital mile lost in a tactical error in the Malacca Strait.
Camper Skipper Chris Nicholson says that it was an incredibly challenging leg.
'It’s been really tough physically and mentally and while it’s another podium finish it’s not the direction we want to be travelling in. We thought and expected to do better than third to be honest.
'It’s a very long race and we’re staying in touch with the leader but the reality is that we’re not performing well enough and need to deliver a more consistent showing. It’s time for a first and hopefully that will be the next one as we come into Auckland.
'At one stage in this leg we were fifth and I think we showed a lot of character within the team to fight back to third. To grab that position is good and it’s a positive for us to finish on. However there’s still a lot of thought required about how we can start winning legs. There’s a lot of determination amongst these guys and even if at times we don’t have the fastest boat on the water we’ll do everything we can to scrap into a podium place.
'We now need to go away look at our performance in the leg, review and debrief everything in detail, see what went well and what didn’t and ensure that we come out absolutely firing for the next leg into Auckland.
'Heading back home and to where it all started is going to be massive for us and we want to deliver the best result for all our supporters.
'There’s a lot of work we need to do to achieve that so after a decent rest we will be back in training on and off the water to lift our performance.'
Camper picked up 19 point for the truncated leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya to be sitting on a total of 80 points, 15 astray of Telefonica and 9 ahead of Groupama.
Quotes from the crew:
I’m pretty frustrated to be honest. We have potential to win races but if I think back a few days ago when we left the Malacca Sraits in fifth, we’re pretty happy to come here placed third overall. You’ve got to take the good with the bad.
I actually think we just have to hang with them [Telefonica] a little longer. They only need to be given an inch and they will take a mile. I’ve probably taken a while to form this opinion of how they are. They’re very strong across the board and I think we just have to hang with them, maybe take some losses when you’re not as fast as them, and wait till you’re faster than them.
Obviously we're disappointed not to win one, but sometimes we were further backk than third and managed to claw our way back and make a decent showing of it. It's a long race and anything can happen. Telefonica are sailing well, very well. They're going fast. But when we are with themm we have to minimise the mistakes, and make it happen. It will happen.
I guess it’s still early enough in the overall race that we can’t be too disappointed with another podium. It’s not a disaster and it’s disaster legs that will lose you the race at this point, so we are just in touch. It is very frustrating that we are not quite doing enough to win a leg, but I’m sure our time will come. We’re hopefully keeping it close enough to keep it a tight race.
It was a very challenging leg in so many different ways, certainly physically with such a geographically constrained race course. We had lot of manoeuvres, watch systems often went out of the window for periods of hours, lots and lots of stacks, moving the stack from side to side, which is always hard work. The negotiation of local fish fleets at night, and dealing with all that side of it. Mentally and physically it was very tough.
The Malacca Straits wasn’t a calm place for us - we lost a lot there. But the guys showed some character, fought back and we overtook two boats on the way in here. It’s a good sign for us that we can come back from a deficit. We are there or thereabouts, we’re knocking on the door. They (Telefonica) are a fast all round boat that’s for sure, so full credit to them, but we’ll catch them.'