Volvo Ocean race: Camper refits ahead of Fiji race

Camper undergoes a pulldown test to measure stability/righting moment in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour

The 2011/12 Volvo Ocean race entry, CAMPER is back at the Emirates Team New Zealand Auckland base after three weeks at sea. The yacht has been stripped and the shore team will start a re-fit ahead of the next event in the calendar, the Auckland to Fiji race.

Skipper Chris Nicholson said the shore and sailing teams have had an extensive debrief. 'We have a good job list ahead of us. The boat will be lifted out of the water for a re-fit before the team can start sea trials again.'

Just seven days after leaving the builder’s shed, CAMPER sailed from Auckland on a 10-day tour of New Zealand, followed by a 2000-mile qualification voyage.

Covering five cities on the east coast, the tour was an opportunity for CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand to meet the public and share the campaign before the boat is shipped to Europe for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race in November.

Camper undergoes a pulldown test to measure stability/righting moment in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour

Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said: 'We have always had an amazing level of support for the team in New Zealand, and we were keen to revive the tradition of taking round-the-world yachts to as many ports as possible.

'It’s one thing to see pictures and video of the boat but to actually get on board and see what the boat looks like, and to experience the power of a Volvo Open 70 when it’s sailing is a rare opportunity.'

For skipper Chris Nicholson it was the first chance to really see how CAMPER would perform.

Camper undergoes a pulldown test to measure stability/righting moment in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour

'The conditions between ports were full on for a newly commissioned boat but I’m really pleased how it went. We put CAMPER through its paces under race conditions and it came out the other side relatively unscathed.

'The reaction of the public was amazing. So many people come out to see us, even in the pouring rain. We must have had more than 1000 people in Christchurch alone. So all in all it was a great success because in-between ports we ticked off many items on the boat work list.'