A few miles away from the line!

CAMPER ETNZ few milles out of Cape Town
CAMPER ETNZ few milles out of Cape Town © Volvo Ocean Race

Chris Nicholson's CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand are battling mountainous seas and more than 30 knots of winds as they approach the finish of Leg 1 in Cape Town. With almost 6,500 nautical miles of tough ocean sailing behind them and second place in the leg virtu

Reporting from the boat this morning media crew member Hamish Hooper describes how the gruelling conditions on board almost resulted in him being buried under a massive pile of equipment as he slept last night.

"We have made it. Well not quite, we were scheduled to by now, but this nasty sea state has slowed us and made our final night onboard a very uncomfortable one.

"I only narrowly will be getting to our destination able bodied as I woke in the night to find about a ton of stack above my bunk seconds from avalanching down on top of me. About a minute after taking my sleeping bag to another bunk the stack collapsed on top of my bed where I had been blissfully asleep.

"Mike and Animal were relieved but laughing that they had decided not to ratchet strap me to my bunk in the middle of the night."

With the Cape Town finish line just a few hours away Hooper also took time to reflect on CAMPER's first leg experiences.

"We stepped on this boat in Spain and will step off in South Africa 22 days later and with one boat ahead of us. Which isn’t a bad result, but obviously not the result we were after.

"After making a cracker start and leading the fleet out of the Med, we spent the rest of the leg chasing the leaders ruing a mistake we made all the way back on day 3. And chasing competitors for nearly 20 days is ‘not much fun,’ as Nico described it.

"Alas you live and you learn from your mistakes, and the guys certainly have taken a lot of positives from this leg - especially the fact that everyone is more than happy with this great boat we have, and know it is on the pace, and perhaps more importantly from a leg where half of the fleet had to retire from racing, we know it is sturdy.

"Although there are those leaking drips just above my bunk, and the stacking posts that need looking into…

"Come leg 2, we know we will be stronger as a result of what we learnt from Leg 1.

"Now just hours away from the finish, for me there is a quiet sense of accomplishment having finished my first leg of a Volvo Ocean Race. There is obviously a long way to go in this race, but for now we are happy to feel content, and let our thoughts turn to food- so much food, showers, shaves, toilets that don’t move, warm dry beds and full nights sleeps, and of course most importantly catching up with loved ones and our mighty shore crew- oh and a cold beer of two most probably."

At the 0800 UTC postion report CAMPER had 28 nautical miles to sail to the finish and was travelling at over 10 knots.

Last night Iker Martínez's Team Telefónica arrived in Cape Town to a tumultous welcome as they claimed a comfortable victory in the first leg which started from Alicante, Spain on November 5. Their spectacular win rockets them from the bottom to the top of the overall leaderboard.

This morning third placed Groupama sailing team skippered by Franck Cammas still had more than 600 nautical miles to sail to reach Cape Town while Ken read's dismasted PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG had reached the remote island of Tristan de Cunha.

© www.volvooceanrace.com

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