Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Yachting: Camper again disappoint in Volvo Ocean Race

Camper has delivered a disappointing performance in the Sanya in-port race, coming fourth and continuing to bleed points to Telefonica who turned in a commanding performance to grab first place.

In a shifty 15 to 20 knot north easterly, Camper last night (Saturday) made a strong start but a major tactical mistake in the first windward beat effectively signalled the end of their race and they rounded the first mark in last place.

However, they clawed back ground over the remaining legs and passed Groupama and Sanya to secure fourth, in the process maintaining their second overall position and slightly increasing the points margin over third-placed Groupama.

Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said that after the work the team had put in over the last week it was a poor result.

"It's a disappointing result for us there's no hiding that. We've had a good week of training and we thought we would have turned in a much better performance today than what we did. The fact is missing that first major right-hand shift was a game breaker and things were looking pretty bleak after that.

"We dug deep to fight back up to fourth place and I guess that's a small positive but we have to stop fighting back and start leading from the front of the fleet.

"I'm certain that we have made improvements in our communication, starts and crew work for the in-port races but that didn't count for much out there today. We'll have to wait for Auckland to show those improvements we've made.

"We wanted to turn in a good performance out there today and we didn't. It's pretty clear where the mistake was and we're all a bit sombre as a result.

"Now we need to refocus, regroup and get into ocean racing mode to ensure we hit the start of Leg 4 in 24 hours in the best shape possible. This next leg is a big one for us and the first few days are looking brutal so it's important we're in the best shape possible. I'm looking forward to it."

Camper is straight back into action tonight (Sunday) at 7pm NZ time with the start of Leg 4, a 5,000 nautical mile race to Auckland. Early forecasts are tipping strong north easterly winds building to 35 knots offshore accompanied by a large sea state.

Camper picked up four points for yesterday's in-port race to be sitting on a total of 83 points, 18 astray of Telefonica and 10 ahead of Groupama.

- APNZ

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