Volvo Ocean Race - Camper happy with final leg victory

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand cross the line to win leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Lorient, France to Galway, Ireland.

Chris Nicholson and his ten strong crew crossed the finish line in Galway this evening, winning the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and thus bringing to an end a nine-month race around the world.


The Spanish New Zealand entry also won the hearts of the more than 15,000 people that gathered in the early hours of the morning to welcome them home.

The 485-mile leg had been a match race from the start and after 1 day 13 hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds of close combat racing, Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand led for most of the final afternoon, crossing the line shortly before 2am local time.

The second position in the final leg assures Camper of an almost unassailable second place in the overall race ranking, behind Groupama, skippered by Frenchman, Franck Cammas.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Chris Nicholson from Australia, celebrate winning leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Lorient, France to Galway, Ireland. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)

Skipper Chris Nicholson said 'It is difficult to know what to say other than everything comes at the right time. Look at the welcome we've had - what a fantastic place. I'm more happy for the rest of the team, I look at what everyone does in this programme, day in and day out, and everyone at Camper and I hope it's our sailing team's way of saying ‘thank you’ to everyone.

'We went quite light with our weight onboard and everything geared up for a port tack, we also took a different spinnaker so that was a calculated roll of the dice.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Chris Nicholson from Australia, arrive to a huge spectator crowd, after winning leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Lorient, France to Galway, Ireland. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)

'There were of a couple of tactical calls this afternoon that were big moments. At the time you try not to think about it but your whole race could be over on that decision, right there, but we stayed strong.

'Some of the sail changes we did last night were in full-on conditions. Everyone else was doing them as well, but we nailed them and gained miles every time.'

Tony Rae commented 'You could say that we weren't very happy with our start but we came back pretty quickly. It was an awesome race, full-on, nonstop. The positions changed so much but we sailed the best we have to date.

'We left our run a little late but we had to win a leg at some stage. This is a bit like winning the InPort in Auckland - it feels really good. What with that welcome and getting second overall, the guys are pretty happy.'

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Chris Nicholson from Australia, celebrate winning leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Lorient, France to Galway, Ireland. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)