Team NZ back in hunt

23:19, May 09 2012

Team New Zealand's round the world yacht is right back in the heart of the race after securing second place on the sixth leg.

Camper sailed into Miami just over an hour behind Puma this morning (NZT) after the two boats had endured a 17-day battle for line honours since leaving Brazil.

The result compresses the points table with overall leaders Telefonica and Groupama trailing in a battle for third on this latest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Camper collected 25 crucial points to remain third overall but are within striking distance with three legs of the marathon race left.

Camper are likely to be just 13 points behind Telefonica if the Spaniards finish fourth in Miami.

Camper sailed a clever leg and got good rewards, leaving skipper Chris Nicholson satisfied, especially after their breakages on the previous leg had threatened to ruin their campaign.


"I'm pretty happy with how it's gone. We're in better shape now for the next leg," Nicholson said as Camper crossed the line in Miami.

"It's been a long leg and Puma have sailed very nicely, they have defended very well, but I think we have attacked well too.

"To have beaten us took quite an effort from them. I'm quite happy - it was a pretty clear first and second in this race and it's been like that really for a large portion of the race.

"We got close to taking the lead several times, certainly in the fast running days and even in the light conditions over the last few days. There were still opportunities right up to the end. I'm fairly sure they'd be of the opinion that it was never in the bank.

"We've been trying to tell you guys all along that this race is going to be close. I think it's going to be amazingly tight by the time we get to Europe. Hopefully it will be a pretty tough transatlantic leg and then hopefully we're in good shape for the rest of the legs through Europe."

It was a glorious homecoming for American Ken Read as he skippered Puma to victory.

Consecutive leg victories now have Puma in the hunt for overall honours, too. They will still lie fourth but the title is wide open.

"That was about as stressful as it can get, believe me," Read said of this sixth leg that had been almost a match race from start to finish.

"It was touch and go, and the guys on Camper sailed very well, but I couldn't be more proud of our team -- they did an unbelievably great job."

The intense battle went right down to the lastl few miles. Puma rounded the final waypoint before the finish -- the Great Isaac Lighthouse - with a 12.5 mile lead.

An hour later that lead was reduced to just 0.3 miles after Puma's decision to head south to be better placed for a current to push the boats north. That tactic worked as they re-established a seven mile lead over the next two hours to carry them to victory.

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