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In-Port Race report

 

 

Chris Nicholson’s CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand squeezed out every drop of home advantage to score a decisive win in the Auckland In-Port Race.

 

To the delight of the huge crowd of spectators, CAMPER slipped into an early lead and showed the rest of the fleet the way around the race course on the Waitemata Harbour.

 

The win in today’s race not only gives CAMPER a psychological boost ahead of the Leg 5 start tomorrow but it adds six points to their overall score on the leader board.

 

As the fleet lined up on starboard tack off Prince’s Wharf, Ken Read’s PUMA Ocean Racing powered by Berg arrived first, fully powered up and in clear air. CAMPER appeared to be happy to arrive a bit late near the committee boat end of the line, leaving them room to tack away.

 

Team Sanya led the split of the fleet, with CAMPER also tacking back towards the city front to escape the strong incoming tide out in the middle of the harbour. This paid off very quickly and by the time she had to tack away from the shoreline, CAMPER was able to cross ahead of the rest of the fleet.

 

Charging out into the harbour with starboard tack rights, CAMPER was firmly in control. As soon as she could get past the Container Wharf and lay through to Mechanics, she headed back in once again to avoid the tide.

 

Carrying on well into Okahu Bay, CAMPER overlaid the mark but managed to round 19 seconds ahead of Groupama who had made a perfect lay line call. With nearly two knots of tide under their keels, the fleet rocketed past the city on the downwind leg to the bottom mark west of the Harbour Bridge.

 

CAMPER stretched out and made gains on second and third place Groupama and PUMA. A few boat lengths were given back by a very early spinnaker drop before the leeward mark, but CAMPER got away clean and changed down their headsail before the last upwind leg in a freshening breeze.

 

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing took a more aggressive approach to the bottom mark and carried their gennaker a bit too long. Dropping as they rounded, the kite came down on the deck and covered the skipper, who sailed well off course until things were tidied up.

 

While CAMPER extended her lead on the last upwind leg, PUMA took advantage of some untidy crew work on Groupama and rolled her to windward at the city front. Rounding the last top mark more than a minute ahead of PUMA, CAMPER had a comfortable lead to the finish where she crossed 54 seconds ahead of PUMA to a cacophony of horns and cheers from the spectator fleet. Franck Cammas’ Groupama rounded out the podium, finishing 1:26 behind CAMPER.

 

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