Team New Zealand's Camper has all but wrapped up second place in the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race with a victory on the ninth and final leg from Lorient, France, to Galway, Ireland.
The win earned the Kiwi boat 30 points, taking the team to 226 overall, and with just the inport race in Galway to go, the only way Camper can lose their runner-up position is by failing to cross the finish line.
Skipper Chris Nicholson was elated with the win, telling reporters it was just reward for the whole team behind Camper.
"I'm more happy for the rest of the team, to be honest with you. I look at what everyone does, day in day out, and I think this is the sailing team's way of saying thank you.
"We went quite light with our weight on board – we had everything geared up for port tack. There were a couple of tactical calls this afternoon which had a big part to play.
"We tried not to think about it but we knew the whole race depended on those decisions.
"Some of the sail changes we did on the last night were in full-on conditions. Every team did them but we did them and nailed them."
Helmsman Tony Rae said it was a relief to get the win after a horror start where Camper were penalised for failing to keep clear of Telefonica.
"They weren't very happy with our start and neither were we but we came back pretty quickly and the boat felt really good.
"It was an awesome race fullstop. The positions changed so often and the boats were so close together. I think we sailed probably the best we've sailed for a long time."
Groupama followed Camper into the final stop in Ireland and secured the overall victory, needing only a top four finish to move out of reach of the rest of the fleet at the top of the table.
Third place went to Puma, putting them on 220 points, and, barring a disaster from Camper, they will finish third overall.
Telefonica, who won the first three legs and seemed the team to beat at the halfway point, finished the ninth leg in fourth and will miss the podium altogether.
The inport race will take place early on Sunday morning (NZ time).
- © Fairfax NZ News
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