Volvo Ocean Race - Camper feeling the wrath

Daryl Wislang and Tony Rae on deck 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©
In the Volvo Ocean Race, after having made the choice to pass east of the Falkland Islands on their way to Itajaí, Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand are today still feeling the wrath of a major low pressure system chasing them from the south.

Although protected to some extent by their location in the lee of the South American landmass the Camper crew have nevertheless had a bumpy ride over the last 24 hours.

Media Crew Member (MCM) Hamish Hooper reported once again resorting to the pill bottle to counter his seasickness as Camper bumped, banged and crashed their way upwind against an unpleasant seaway at an average speed of more than 11 knots.

Hooper said the continuing tough conditions made spending time on the wave swept deck an unappealing prospect.

'Each of the guys get ready for their watches and glance out of the hatch with pensive apprehension,' he said in a report from the boat today.

'I guess they were feeling a bit like me, having mentally left the harsh cold conditions of the Southern Ocean behind last night, but having to continue dealing with them today.'

While the conditions onboard are anything but comfortable skipper Chris Nicholson said they were a good test for the structural repairs carried out by the shore crew at the Chilean port of Puerto Montt earlier this month.

'We got around the Horn in good shape then got a bit of a touch up between there and the Falklands,’’ he said. 'Pretty hard on the boat, almost similar to when we left Auckland, so a good test for all of the new structure in the boat and everything looks all good.'

Race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante said the team could expect conditions to ease slightly over the next 24 hours but added the low in the south was likely to give rise to a trough in the South Atlantic and could require Camper to make a choice on how to negotiate it.

Skipper Chris Nicholson looks outside at the seething weather 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©

'The eastern perimeter of the trough will pack 25-35 knot northerly winds, while to the west there will be 25-30 knots from the south west,' he said.

'Depending on how quickly the trough moves east, Camper could be faced with a decision in the next 24 hours on whether or not they divert west around the trough.'

At 1300 UTC today Camper had just over 1400 nautical miles to run to the finish. The most recent estimated time of their arrival at Itajaí is April 16 when they will score 15 points for fourth place, boosting them back to third overall.

Meanwhile in Itajaí, the shore crews of the three teams who already completed Leg 5 have had to cope with sweltering heat as they work steadily through their jobs lists to get their boats into racing trim as soon as possible.

Groupama shore manager Ben Wright said his next priority was to start work on their replacement mast which is expected to arrive at the team base today after being flown from the Netherlands by official race logistics partner DHL.

'It was unloaded off the plane during the night, loaded on a truck and is due to arrive in the middle of the afternoon,' he said. 'We are looking forward to getting it in front of our base, unpacking it and putting it together.'

Wright said he was confident the operation to fit out the new spar would be completed in the next couple of days despite requiring some painstaking work.

'It is a first generation mast but there are not many differences,' he said. 'We need to go through the process of putting it all together and checking everything over.

'There is a lot of work and a lot of details which just soak up time so it will take a couple of days, but we have that time before the boat goes in the water so there is no rush or panic on it.'

Already in Itajaí ahead of the arrival of their boat by cargo ship, the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing shore crew were today preparing the ground for critical repair work.

Latest estimates suggest Azzam will arrive in Itajaí on the evening of April 18, just two days before the Itajaí In-Port Race.

Volvo Ocean Race website