Volvo Ocean Race: Camper crew keen to close the gap for VOR win
Shore crew giving Camper the once-over – Chris Cameron, Camper pic
A stopover is normally a time to reflect, for injuries to heal, to recharge the batteries, particularly after a leg as demanding as the last, in which sleep was at a premium – and although Sanya is the ‘Hawaii of China’, you won’t see the Camper doing any of these things or sun baking.
This is no holiday in the sun, as there is much work to be done, plans to be made, details to be scrutinised.
Despite their second place overall and podium positions in all the point-scoring races, Camper’s crew is keen to close the gap and improve their performance for that elusive win.
The team remains within touching distance of the summit, just 15 points adrift of overall leader, Telefónica, and that’s why the little details matter.
Bringing a fresh pair of eyes to the team’s performances – particularly in the In Port races where 20 per cent of the points are up for grabs – will be New Zealand-based coaches Rod Davis and Joey Allen, who normally focus of the Emirates Team New Zealand America’s Cup squad.
Allen has done multiple round-the-world races and America’s Cups, and along with Davis, an Olympic gold and silver medallist, they bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, which can help Camper bridge the gap in performance.
"The purpose of them coming here is because we recognise we’ve got weaknesses in our In Port game,” Camper’s Australian skipper, Chris Nicholson, said on Wednesday.
"Even though we’ve been inshore racing quite well, we obviously believe we can do better. Quite often a good way of doing that is to bring in an external source,” the former three-time world champion 49er sailor and Olympian added.
"Because we’re so familiar with the Volvo boat and our style of in-port racing, it’s just good to bring in a fresh set of eyes, especially guys of their calibre and level of expertise – it’ll be great for us. Whether it happens here or further down the line, these guys will make a difference.”
Meanwhile, Shore Manager Neil Cox has been assessing the condition of the boat after Leg 3 – which was kinder to the boat than it was on the crew – and looking ahead to New Zealand. “Our boat is in exceptionally good shape,” he said.
"The leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya was pretty kind on the boat, so the work list isn’t too extensive. What we’re really trying to deal with now is to plan ahead for the stopover in Auckland, the time there is so compressed, so we’re trying to get as much covered here as possible so we don’t have to deal with it there.”
Camper is due to go back into the water on Sunday and have its first sail the following day. The final week will be a busy time and the mostly New Zealand team intends to maximise every available opportunity, both on and off the water.
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