Yachting: Camper back on the podium in Lisbon

Camper have taken third place in the Lisbon in-port race in an exciting showdown on the Tagus River overnight. Photo / Hamish Hooper.
Camper have taken third place in the Lisbon in-port race in an exciting showdown on the Tagus River overnight. Photo / Hamish Hooper.

Team New Zealand's Camper have taken third place in the Lisbon in-port race in an exciting showdown on the Tagus River overnight - but it could have been better for the team.

In almost perfect sailing conditions with a 15-18 knot southwesterly breeze, Camper had a clean downwind start behind Groupama but picked up a better line of breeze and managed to sneak in front as the fleet closed in on Lisbon's iconic 25th of April Bridge.

In an epic battle to the first mark, the two boats exchanged the lead several times until an uncharacteristically sub-par gybe by Camper allowed Groupama to inch into the lead at the first mark rounding, a position they held for the rest of the race.

In a tightly compressed fleet Camper continued to fight hard for the rest of the race, holding on to second until the last leg where Puma moved ahead to relegate Camper to third.

The result is Camper's sixth in-port race podium finish in eight races and delivers the team three valuable points, but Camper skipper Chris Nicholson was left with mixed emotions.

"Third is an okay result and that's all it is," he said. "We needed better and we had opportunities for that to be a lot better result than third.

"The reality is, though, if you look at what's going on with some of the other top four teams, everyone's having their ups and downs - it's an interesting mix. Today we wanted more but it could have been a whole lot worse as we've seen.

"Now we're all really looking to the next leg."

Leg eight of the Volvo Ocean Race, a 1940 nautical mile battle from Lisbon to Lorient, France gets underway at midnight tonight.

- APNZ

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