The bad news just keeps coming for Camper.

The Emirates Team NZ entrant in the Volvo Ocean Race has been forced to start near the back of the fleet on the important leg to Auckland after another mistake in the preliminaries to leg four off the Chinese island of Sanya late last night NZ time.

A technical problem not long after the start of the 43.2-nautical mile in-shore race means Camper started the leg proper fifth of the six boats, over nine minutes after leader Telefonica, which won the first stage of leg four.

"We had a couple of bits of trouble at the start but if you look at what happened to Puma it could have been a lot worse," said Camper skipper Chris Nicholson.


"We would have preferred to start with a nine-minute jump on everyone else. We actually fought back well after the first transition but we got cleaned up by the second one."

Puma had led the race but got stuck in a wind hole and finished a distant last.

A mistake in an in-shore race on Saturday put Camper in last place before they battled back to fourth.

Nicholson had questioned the decision of the race committee to split the stage and hold a short in-shore race due to the expected rough conditions in the South China Sea.

While Camper remain in second overall, they have failed to win a stage but have remained consistent with no breakages so far. Nicholson said the rough conditions would have suited Camper.

The 5,220 nautical mile leg to Auckland began this morning at 8am NZ time.

Starting order for leg four to Auckland: Team Telefonica; Groupama at 2min:34sec; Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing at 3:36; Team Sanya at 7:32; Camper at 9:13; Puma at 39:17.