Team New Zealand boat Camper has fought back to take fourth place in an action-packed Miami in-port event in the Volvo Ocean race overnight.
In an engrossing race marked by multiple lead changes, numerous protests, fleet pile-ups and course changes, Camper was passed virtually on the finish line by Puma to miss out on a podium place by just nine seconds.
In a 16-knot south easterly Camper made a less than ideal start and suffering from an incorrect headsail choice on the first beat slipped to last place by Leg 2.
However, in a light and fluky breeze the team fought back and by mark eight had recovered to third place.
As the breeze continued to die the fleet continued to compress even further and as Abu Dhabi and Groupama took first and second respectively, Camper and Puma were engaged in an epic battle for third place with the American team ultimately edging Camper out just metres from the line to finish nine seconds ahead.
The up-and-down day on the water that saw overall race leader Telefonica finishing last and fifth placed Abu Dhabi finish first sees the leadership board tighten even further with just 14 points now separating the top four boats heading into the start of leg seven tomorrow. (monday)
Camper remains in third place overall but with just a one point buffer over fourth placed Puma.
Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said that it was a day of missed opportunities but that the team showed good composure in fighting back.
"We made some big and obvious mistakes today and paid for them on the first beat. Points wise it looks ok but it was a disappointing day for us.
"It was a lost opportunity really as we could have made some good gains up the leaderboard, but if you look around the fleet today we weren't the only ones making mistakes.
"I think the impressive thing was the composure the guys showed in fighting back from what at one stage was a pretty serious last place to third. They did a great job especially Nick who was on his first Volvo race with us.
"Things have tightened up even further after today and with the race wide open the upcoming transatlantic leg is going to be massive. We need to do well and we need to get maximum points. It's pretty simple really."
The crew of Camper now turn their sights on the final preparations for the 3,500 nm leg seven race from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal starting on Sunday.