Yachting: Camper primed for sprint finish to Abu Dhabi

The crew of Camper have unfinished business on their minds when the final part of the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race kicks off overnight with a sprint finish to Abu Dhabi.

The Team New Zealand boat was pipped to the line by Telefonica by less than two minutes before all the boats were loaded onto a ship at a secret location off the Sharjah coastline to avoid the possibility of running into pirates.

The Volvo fleet finish the second leg with a 98-mile sprint along the United Arab Emirates coast from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi overnight (NZT).

With six points on offer, overall leg honours are still up for grabs if Camper can secure first and Telefonica no higher than fifth.

A strong Shamal dessert wind of 20-30 knots is forecast and, combined with the short, sharp course, an intense battle is likely down the coast with the fleet expected to finish late afternoon close to each other.

The course begins with an 18-mile beat to windward followed by an 80-mile tight reach in to the finish off Abu Dhabi.

Camper skipper Chris Nicholson says it is an unforgiving course that will require teams to be on top form from the starting gun.

"We don't see to many passing lanes out there so it's vital that we get our sail choices spot on at the beginning and get the beat out of the way in the best shape possible," he said.

"We need to get the fundamentals right as it will be very difficult on this course to work your way back into contention after a mistake or poor start.

"If we can go into that long drag race reaching down to the finish in a strong position then we'll be happy.

"This race is of huge importance to us. Twenty per cent of the total points for leg 2 are on the line as are overall honours for the leg. The jump that Telefonica got over us in the first part of the leg hurt and this presents an opportunity to make up for that.

"We didn't like that narrow loss into [the ship at] Point A and have identified some clear areas of improvement that we think will give us an extra edge for the race into Abu Dhabi.

"It is a difficult course but we rate our ability to do well in this type of in-port, close quarters type racing so we'll be giving it everything we've got and looking to produce a top performance.

"At the very least, we need a podium finish and we need to beat Telefonica and I'm confident that we have what it takes to deliver that."

Telefonica lead overall with 61 points from Camper on 54 and Groupama a distant third on 36.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 01 Nov 2014 11:28:17 Processing Time: 365ms