Yachting: The end is in sight for Camper

Skipper Chris Nicholson. Photo / Hamish Hooper
Skipper Chris Nicholson. Photo / Hamish Hooper

The end of leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race is finally in sight for Emirates Team New Zealand boat Camper.

After almost a month of ocean racing the team are just 150 nautical miles, about 12 hours' sailing, from the finish line in the Brazilian port of Itajai.

Camper is expected to arrive in Itajai at 9pm tonight (NZT) and they're the only vessel on the course.

Puma, Telefonica and Groupama have already finished and Abu Dhabi and Team Sanya have withdrawn from the leg.

However, one final challenge lays ahead of the team with a large windless zone that so far has ensnared all the leg five finishers sitting off the coast of Itajai.

The large hole could see Camper park up for several painful hours just 20 nautical miles from Itajai.

Speeds have so far been consistently high on Camper as they clock off the remaining few hundred miles with the boat easing along at between 14 and 20 knots for much of the past 24 hours.

Camper trimmer/driver Tony Rae said the weather had been kind to the team as the marathon leg neared its end.

"We've probably had the best conditions we could ask for getting up the coast here. It was pretty lumpy and bumpy around the Horn, but the last few days we have been sailing downwind at speeds of up to 20 knots.

"We've been making good time and it has been pretty nice sailing actually, so we're pretty lucky. It means that we've got valuable hours on shore to get the boat ready to go, and hopefully have a day off before loading the boat again and hitting the Pro-Am and the In-Port race.

"We haven't just been cruising along, we've been pushing the boat as hard as possible in the conditions we've had without doing any damage. We need to get there (Itajai) as soon as possible and I know the shore crew are very keen to pull things apart and get the rig out - we need every hour we can get really.

"What's comforting is we've sailed from Puerto Montt around the Horn and given the boat a pretty good battering again. It gives us a lot of confidence in the repairs that were made."

- APNZ

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