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Volvo Ocean Race: Camper complete leg 5 odyssey for vital fourth place

17/04/2012
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CAMPER completed their Leg 5 odyssey to claim fourth place and collect a vital 15 points, arriving in Itajaí, Brazil at 12:35:44 UTC on Tuesday, 31 days after the start and more than 10 days behind leg winners PUMA.

CAMPER's triumph over adversity was enough to catapult them back to third position overall, 28 points behind overall leaders Team Telefónica.

It was a 9,048 nautical mile (nm) race for CAMPER, who were forced to suspend racing on April 3 when they pulled into the Chilean port of Puerto Montt for five days to fix structural damage.

"I am very proud of the whole team," said skipper Chris Nicholson. "I think in previous races some other teams would not have done what we needed to do to get the points.

"Yes, adversity makes a team stronger and we are stronger than ever."

Nicholson added: “It’s a valuable 15 points we’ll get. We won’t even know how valuable those points are until the end in Galway, but I have a feeling they’re vital.”

First place was claimed by PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG on April 6 after an epic victory over Telefónica, who fought back from a 400 nm deficit after suspending for repairs to claim second place, just 12 minutes behind the winners.

Groupama sailing team claimed the final podium position on April 10 under jury rig, after the team suspended racing when their mast broke on April 4 and resumed racing on April 7.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who also pulled into Puerto Montt because of damage, are shipping their boat to Itajaí, where an eight-strong team of boatbuilders are waiting to get to work on Azzam.

Also eager for more hard work are Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez and his long-term sailing partner Xabi Fernández, who have accepted the invitation of the Spanish Sailing Federation to join the Olympic team for London 2012.

The two Telefónica sailors will have less than three weeks to prepare for the Games following the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race on July 7 in Galway, Ireland but they are determined to give themselves the best posible chance of another medal in the 49er class, following gold in 2004 and silver in 2008.

“That was a surprise even for us, but we’ve invested a lot of years in the 49er and we really think we can do it," said Fernández. "We’ve always been in the position that if the opportunity arises we will take it and we will try our best of course.”