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Telefonica triumph and CAMPER second



Telefonica won the first leg of the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race and celebrated in style in Cape Town. Sixteen hours later, after an eventful last night at sea, Emirates Team New Zealand's CAMPER finished in second place. Groupama, the only other boat still in the Race for Leg 1, still had more than 400nm to go to reach Cape Town.


The result means CAMPER shoots up to second place in the overall standings, two points behind Leg 1 winners Team Telefónica, after negotiating 6,500 nautical miles of sailing that was relatively trouble-free until the last few hours.


Overnight, CAMPER had to contend with 35 knots of wind and mountainous seas before suffering damage to rigging in sight of Table Mountain and a finish line that was suddenly looking a long way away.


CAMPER finally completed the leg at 12:48:04 local time on Sunday, 21 days 21 hours 48 minutes and four seconds after the start gun fired in Alicante back on November 5. After children had been passed over the guard rail for joyful reunions with heavily bearded fathers, and the sailors had started stuffing steak burgers into their mouths, skipper Chris Nicholson described just how tough the end of the leg had been.


“That’s the roughest conditions I’ve been in in a Volvo Open 70," the skipper said. "Normally, you’ve got somewhere left to go as in put another reef in, put a smaller jib on, but we were out.


“We were three reefs and a storm jib ... we were starting to run out of options other than to turn around and run with it. And that is the last option.


“At the time, you are thinking it’s the worst day of your life but now we’re through it it makes you feel a little bit more robust for the next time those conditions crop up.


" Asked what he was most looking forward to at dockside, Nicholson was clear. "Most of all I just want to see my family," he said in sentiments that were clearly echoed by the rest of the team after such a long time at sea.


Telefónica have 31 points from the first in-port race and first leg, followed by CAMPER on 29. Groupama sailing team will shoot up to third on 22 points if they finish, as expected, on Tuesday.


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