Yachting: Camper arrive in Puerto Montt for repairs

A Chilean flag is hoisted by Roberto Bermudez De Castro presented by the Chilean Navy as Camper approach Porto Montt. Photo / Hamish Hooper.
A Chilean flag is hoisted by Roberto Bermudez De Castro presented by the Chilean Navy as Camper approach Porto Montt. Photo / Hamish Hooper.

Camper have finally arrived in the Chilean port of Puerto Montt for repairs, 10 days after they discovered major damage to their bow during the Volvo Ocean Race.

Camper was damaged when landing from a huge wave in the Southern Ocean the crew said felt like a drop from a two-storey building. After a patch-up job, they decided to head to land.

It appears to be a good decision, given the fact 60-70 knot winds are forecast for Cape Horn at a time they might have been rounding it.

Camper docked at Puerto Montt just past 11am (NZT) and the waiting shore crew got straight to work, beginning a full ultrasound survey of the hull to check the extent of the damage.

Repairs are expected to take between three and four days, with Camper likely to resume racing to the next pit stop at Itajai, Brazil, this weekend.

"If you think back to when we first did the damage, we were 2500 nautical miles away from port and getting repairs started," skipper Chris Nicholson said.

"So we've already completed a massive journey just getting here and it's great to have the first stage of this marathon completed.

"Our goal has always been to get the boat to port in one piece, get it repaired, and get back into the race so in being here we've knocked off the first part of that.

"We have had an extraordinary 17 days since the start of this leg. So now it's time for the guys to sit down, relax, have a steak and a beer and refocus for the race ahead. The reality is that these few days are probably going to be the only down time the guys will have for the next month so it's vital they get as refreshed as possible."

The race at the head of the fleet has intensified, with Groupama and Puma joined by Telefonica in the race for line honours.

Puma and Groupama have traded the lead several times as they continue their match race. Puma lead by just 1.2 miles, 750 miles out from Itajai. Telefonica, who docked for repairs of their own, are only 63 miles behind.

Abu Dhabi are also heading for Puerto Montt to repair their damaged boat and Camper will want to depart first to give them the best chance of finishing fourth in the leg.

Team Sanya withdrew from the leg and returned to New Zealand after damaging their rudder.

- APNZ

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