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Volvo OR: Final stage of Leg 2 delivers ups and downs for Camper    
Thu, 5 Jan 2012

The final part of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race, has provided plenty of positives but also a few areas of improvement for Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand.

The short 98 mile sprint along the United Arab Emirates coast from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi delivered the promised close quarters sailing spectacle with the entire fleet finishing within minutes of each other after an intense battle down the coast.

In a strong westerly/north westerly of 20 to 25 knots Camper made a faultless start and picked the right side of the course to lead the fleet at the first and only windward mark. However, on the long reach to the finish superior boat speed from Telefonica and Groupama saw them pull Camper in and left them having to settle for third place.

Groupama and Telefonica went onto a thrilling battle for first and second with Groupama securing victory at the last minute by just 57 seconds.

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Camper skipper Chris Nicholson says that it was a hard fought race and while happy with the way the boat was sailed he’s disappointed with the result.

'It was a tough one for us – we did everything we wanted to do, our game plan was spot on, we won the start and we picked the right side of the course but we then got passed on the drag race to the finish. There’s wasn’t a huge amount of speed difference in it but there was enough for them to roll on past us in this short type of leg.

'I always look for faults in our performance and when I look at today it’s hard to find them other than we were a little bit slow.

'We have our strengths there’s no doubt about that, but the reality is that at the moment in a 20 knot tight reach Telefonica and Groupama would appear to have a slight edge over us.

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'There’s a range of conditions which suit us better and we think we’ll have a speed edge in over the rest of the fleet. We just need to bide our time for those conditions.

'We aim to win every race but if we can get podium finishes in legs dominated by conditions that we’re not optimised for then that’s not a bad place to be.'

The result means that Camper secures second overall for Leg 2 and maintain their second place on the overall leaderboard for the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race, 5 points adrift of race leader Telefonica.

The short sprint concluded Leg 2 which originated in Cape Town, raced for two weeks to an undisclosed destination in the Indian Ocean, code named Safe Haven. After which the five remaining yachts were loaded, fully rigged, aboard a secure ship, due to international piracy concerns, and transported to Sharjah. They were relaunched and the Leg restarted on 4 January to finish in Abu Dhabi.

The first stage of the leg counted for 80% of the points available and the second for the remaining 20%. The In Port race to be held in Abu Dhabi, like all In Port races will be scored at 20% of an Ocean leg. The process will be reversed for Leg 3, with a short sprint to Sharjah, ship to Safe Haven, and the restart to Sanya in China - for which they should be joined by Team Sanya, currently in south Madagascar, having rig issues sorted.

by Thomas Pryor and Sail-World

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