Yachting: Time is tight for Camper

Tony Rae and Stu Bannatyne onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / Hamish Hooper
Tony Rae and Stu Bannatyne onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / Hamish Hooper

Team New Zealand boat Camper will face a tight turnaround to prepare for in-port racing in Brazil this week.

Conditions have remained favourable for the team over the last 24 hours in the Volvo Ocean Race, and with just over 500 nautical miles remaining to the finish line, the forecast is good all the way to Itajai.

The estimated time of arrival for Camper in Brazil is late on April 17th, who will finish fourth after Puma, Telefonica and Groupama have already completed the leg, while Abu Dhabi and Team Sanya have withdrawn.

Skipper Chris Nicholson said the team was on track to reach Itajai in time but there wouldn't be much spare time to see the sights.

"We're thinking we'll get anything between a half and one day off in Itajai. Honestly it'll just be enough time so we can sort out our personal belongings, get everything washed and cleaned and get ready for the in-port racing. It's going to be tough but all the guys are prepared for it and ready to make the sacrifice," he said.

"I have to say that since we damaged the boat probably all of us at one stage or another have struggled. It's been a very long leg. We couldn't have damaged the boat in any worse a position on the race course than what we did. It's been a very long journey to get to here but we're going to get fourth, we're going to earn points, and I think that's quite a reward for the efforts of the team. I'm very proud of the whole team."

With conditions improving and the end of the marathon leg in sight a month after leaving Auckland spirits are building aboard, Nicholson said.

"It's nice to be getting closer that's for sure. The forecast is pretty good from here to Itajai too. To be honest, we've had a pretty good run to here from Puerto Montt. We've only had two days of nasty stuff and at this time of year I can't complain about that.

"From here on in we're thinking 20 knots running most of the way, possibly a little bit light at the end. Our current ETA has us getting there on the afternoon on April 17. It could be very light at the finish but hopefully there will be a bit of a sea breeze blowing there to get us the last few miles. That's something we'll know more of in the days ahead.

"We're racing ourselves to get there as soon as possible to prepare the best we can for the in-port race. We've been on the back foot now for a couple of weeks so we need to get there in good time to get the boat sorted and get back to in-port racing.

"As we head north and it gets a bit warmer, things are getting a lot easier. It's amazing how quickly we can go from fairly horrible conditions to quite pleasant sailing. You forget about the bad, you're looking at the good, and before you know it you're ready to go racing again."


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