Volvo Ocean Race: Camper update - putting safety first + Video

Daryl Wislang repairs a ripped tail bag which was ripped off by a wave onboard Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.
Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©

The Spanish/New Zealand entry, Camper is still proceeding at a reduced speed towards South America and Cape Horn.

The race tracker show the race leader, Groupama as being about four hours away from the third Ice Limit set by race organisers, before the fleet are expected to dive south to round Cape Horn.

The other three boats in the immediate fleet are sailing at speeds of around 18-20kts, however Camper and Abu Dhabi who also suffered bulkhead damage (but returned to Auckland for repairs) are averaging a speed of 13 and 10kts respectively.

Both are also on a more northerly course than the others.

A spokesman for Emirate Team NZ told Sail-World, this morning, that the team were putting safety first and were not pushing hard, and that at this stage there was no plan to stop in South America to effect further repairs.



Yesterday in a radio interview with Will Oxley around 3.00pm New Zealand time, Peter Montgomery was told that the bulkhead which was not a structural bulkhead, but a safety one had been repaired. The repair had the heaters on it, and the boat would be back up to full speed in 30 minutes or so. That doesn't seem to have happened, judging by the latest speeds from the race tracker.

However a Team NZ spokesman told Sail-World this morning, that they had backed off and would not be pushing the Volvo 70 hard in the conditions which were reported to be 35-48kts and seas averaging 4.5metres.

They had also had design engineers consulting with the crew on the boat, and that discussion had resulted in the corrective and repair action that had been taken. It is believed that the initial damage to the bulkhead occurred on the first night out of Auckland, and was repaired in the lighter weather in Leg 5 (see video below) but the repair gave way later in the Southern Ocean, when Camper were leading and pushing hard on the other boats, creating further damage and that necessitated a more substantial repair.

Daryl Wislang doing a quick repair on the foredeck being showered in icy ocean water onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)
Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©

In a media statement issued Syunday morning, Emirates team NZ said that: 'Furious fifty knot winds and five metre plus seas have taken their toll on Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand overnight with the team losing the lead after being forced to slow down to assess and repair bow damage .

'The damage occurred in the torrid conditions after Camper fell heavily off a very large wave causing a forward structural to begin delaminating. Navigator Will Oxley said it had felt like the boat was 'being dropped from a two-storey building'.

'As always safety of crew and boat is the number one priority and skipper Chris Nicholson made the difficult decision to de-power the boat and slow up in order to assess the damage and carry out what repairs are possible at sea.

'The decision has been costly with Camper being forced to sail several knots slower than its rivals for the last 12 hours and dropping over 100 miles from first place to fourth.

'Camper skipper Chris Nicholson says that the crew are safe and the boat in no immediate danger.

' 'The boat is in no immediate danger and the crew is fine, but with the bow now flexing and the weight of wind we cannot push on as fast as we would like.

'We are starting on repairs that will allow us to get going as fast as is practical.

'We’ve had the hammer down and had been pushing pretty hard, and the reality is that in these conditions sometimes things can and do go wrong.

'It’s pretty extreme out here and while it’s hugely disappointing to have to give up our lead the important thing is that we look after the boat and crew and get things back into the best shape possible. It has been a very tough 24 hours'
, the media statement concluded'



Race leader Groupama were reported as experiencing winds of 33-61kts and were sailing at an average speed of 18kts, 5kts faster than Camper. The other two boats, Telefonica and Puma were sailing at a similar speed to Goupama, and the effect of this speed differential would be for Camper to drop over a hundred miles in a 24 hour period. However at the time of the last report she was only 80nm behind the third placed boat, Puma and 100nm behind overall race leader, Telefonica, but had a 580nm margin over the fifth placed Abu Dhabi.

Tony Rae and Adam Minoprio wrapped up warm on deck of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)
Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©

Projections from www.predictwind.com!PredictWind.com show Groupama as reaching Cape Horn in about four and a half days with Camper, surprisingly only four or five hours astern, based on her sailing to a normal Volvo 70 polar (projected boat speed for a given wind angle and strength), for the trip. Winds are not really expected to ease in the run to Cape Horn for either group.

Team Sanya, is headed for the port of Tauranga, expected to be there on Wednesday and would be on a ship for South America on Thursday, after breaking her rudder while leading the race.

 Further updates will be posted as they come to hand