Volvo Ocean Race: Camper takes second in drama filled inshore race

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand chasing Groupama Sailing Team, during the DHL In-Port Race Itajai, Brazil, in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.

Just four days after arriving in Itajai, Brazil, Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand has taken second place in a drama filled Itajai In-Port race. Light and shifty conditions, course changes, and a major tactical error all played a role in today’s up and down race.

After a delayed start due to a lack of wind racing got underway in a 15 knot south easterly and heavy rain. Camper made a strong downwind start and was second behind Telefonica at the first mark by just one second. After a tight tussle over the next two legs Camper rounded the third mark behind Telefonica and Groupama. Heading to the next mark a major wind shift saw the course changed and in the confusion Telefonica out front made a significant error and rounded the wrong mark.

Groupama and Camper jumped on the mistake and moved into first and second place. Over the remaining four legs in a dying breeze Camper fought hard to regain the lead but ultimately with a shortened course ran out of runway and settled for a hard earned second place after a last minute charge from Puma.

Mike Pammenter from South Africa is sprayed with champagne. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Chris Nicholson from Australia celebrate coming second in the DHL In-Port Race Itajai, Brazil, in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)

The second place delivers Camper a valuable five points and with Telefonica coming in last after their navigational blunder the points margin between the top three overall teams (Telefonica, Groupama and Camper) has closed up.

Camper skipper Chris Nicholson says that it was a challenging day on the water with a tight race course.

'It was an incredibly intense race but a lot of fun to sail. We had a very nice start and managed to keep clean coming out of the start box which in this type of racing is really important.

Spectators line the shore to watch the DHL In-Port Race Itajai, Brazil, in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)

'We had a lot of really close bottom mark roundings where we were neck and neck with the leaders and everybody was sailing really nicely.

'You didn’t see us set the world on fire today, but we didn’t make too many big mistakes. We had flawless crew work -- the bottom drops the guys were pulling off were fantastic and allowed us to stay in the game, so that’s a big positive.

'If you think we haven’t done any racing as such for almost a month and have only had a few days turn around in Itajai I think the guys came out today and performed nicely.

'So we go out of today with some more valuable points in the bag and in good shape for the start of Leg 6 tomorrow.'

Leg 6 a 4800 nautical mile race to Miami, USA gets underway at 1400 tomorrow local time/0500 Monday 23 April.

Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, lead CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, during the DHL In-Port Race Itajai, Brazil, in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)