Volvo Ocean Race: Camper reports 20nm from from the finish of Leg 3

A pensive skipper Chris Nicholson takes a glance outside onboard Camper during leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China.
Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©

Hamish Hooper reports from onboard Camper, 20nm from the finish of Leg 3:

Well that’s it Leg 3 almost done and dusted.

The guys are truly exhausted, they have really dug it in massively since things didn’t go our way in the Malacca Straits.

Since it became evident that our decision didn’t work out and we were leaving the Singapore Straits in fifth position, there hasn’t been a hint of negativity or even disappointment, just the unspoken desire and grit to work as hard as it takes to claw our way back up the fleet as far as we possibly could. And the guys have all done that.

Barring any major unfortunate twists or turns (which have happened before- leg 2) we should arrive in Sanya in third place behind Telefonica and Groupama who have both sailed fantastically this leg. Puma are still about 15 miles behind with just over 40 miles to go. So we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves- just know that if we finish third we will be content, if Puma manage to get in front of us it will be…. as Stu describes, 'Losing third from here would be a major disappointment- a get your razor blades out kind of disappointment.'

In terms of first and second I think it is fair to say right about now the fat lady, is just clearing her large throat before breaking into song.

The last 24 hours of each leg are the slowest. It seems to take forever to actually reach the dock and be able to step off the boat after pretty much two weeks onboard, I cant wait for that and all of the momentous moments that come with finishing a Volvo Ocean Race leg.

Speaking of momentous- one small thing in the back of my mind is that the next time we are approaching the finish line of a leg it will be into my home city, Auckland and that will be significant.

Thanks again for your support of Camper.

Here’s a fact for you:
The hardest part of leaving these boats is leaving behind the Biltong.

Golden Quote: ' Better third than fifth as it was shaping up as we left Singapore. A solid leg but a couple of small errors and uncooperative clouds were the difference in the results between third and first in this leg.' Will Oxley.

In an interview as Camper approached the finish line off Sanya, skipper Chris Nicholson said they lost the race in the Malacca Straits when they, along with Abu Dhabi, chose the Malaysian shore, which has paid in the past. However the other boats in the lead bunch elected to go the other side of a thunderstorm, over towards the Sumatra shore, and moved away, establishing a lead suffice to allow them to win the leg.

Nicholson reported that the boat is in good shape, only getting a pounding for a 24 hour period.