Damaged Camper slips to fourth in Volvo race


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The Independent Online

A slide from first to fourth has hit the combined Spanish/New Zealand entry Camper dealing with two lots of damage as it races deep in the roaring forties, but north of the ice exclusion zone, towards Cape Horn on the fifth leg of the Volvo round the world race from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil.

Navigator Will Oxley reported that the first, a crack in a non-structural bulkhead, was not a difficult repair. The boat then fell off a wave and caused some delamination in a carbon fibre longitudinal beam up in the bow. That was causing the bow to flex a little, so skipper Chris Nicholson decided to take his foot of the throttle but was hopeful that the damage could also soon be repaired.

That put Camper 50 miles behind the new leader, and winner of the fourth leg from China, Groupama, skippered by Franck Cammas. He was just 14 miles ahead of the winner of the first three legs, Iker Martinez, in the other Spanish boat, Telefonica, and 40 ahead of third-placed Puma, the American-flagged yacht skippered by Kenny Read.

Trailing badly now, after having to return to Auckland to repair its own broken bulkhead, is the Abu Dhabi boat Azzam, skippered by British double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, 600 miles behind Groupama.

And in real strife is the Chinese entry Sanya, struggling upwind back to Tauranga in New Zealand to assess what to do about a mangled starboard (right) rudder. This is the third leg in which major damage has sideswiped Mike Sanderson’s boat, the only one contesting its second race. It campaigned as Telefonica Blue in the last race.