Chris Nicholson says slick boat handling could hold the key to Leg 2 Stage 2 on Wednesday -- a race his CAMPER team are desperate to win after after being pipped at the post in the first stage by overall race leaders Telefónica.
"Just four points now separate CAMPER and Telefónica after the first stage of Leg 2 and if Nicholson’s men win tomorrow’s second stage and Martínez’s Telefónica finish in fifth place, the both teams would finish the leg on 26 points"
Less than two minutes separated CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand and Team Telefónica when they reached the safe haven port introduced by race organisers to counter the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean.
Nicholson says the narrow loss had been a disappointing blow for the team after several thousand nautical miles of ocean racing, but one which his crew had managed to put to the back of their minds.
“There is obviously a massive mood difference between finishing second like we did and if we had won,” he said. “The closeness of the result was incredible after such a long time racing.
“We didn’t like it, that’s for sure, but we took it in our stride and pretty much got straight down to the normal process of de-briefing the leg. We identified some areas for improvement and now we are focused on winning the second stage into Abu Dhabi.”
Overall Leg 2 honours still up for grabs.
If Nicholson’s men win tomorrow’s second stage and Telefónica finish in fifth place, both teams would finish Leg 2 on 26 points. In that situation, the tie would be decided in favour of CAMPER as the team with the best result in the most recent scoring opportunity.
With winds as high as 25 knots forecast for the 98 nautical mile dash along the United Arab Emirates coast to Abu Dhabi tomorrow, Nicholson says the high speed scramble to decide the overall Leg 2 winner could be decided on a number of key moments.Telefónica's overall race lead is not under threat, however.
“For most fleets this would be viewed as a long coastal race, but in these Volvo Open 70s it's going to feel like it will be over in the blink of an eye,’” he said.
“The start will be a major factor as usual and then the first section after that will be upwind for about 18 nautical miles.
“The biggest element could be when we find out who has the legs on everyone on the tight reach in the middle of the stage,” Nicholson added.
“We will need to change headsails for the long reach along the coast and then change again for the last leg to the finish. Getting each of those choices right could be the key moments for everyone.”
- 18 May 2012Four in-ports, three legs, too close to call
- 15 May 2012Teams eye Miami points grab ahead of Atlantic crossing
- 16 Feb 2012Chinese fortune smiles on Martínez
- 14 Jan 2012Skippers vie for Leg 3 boost
- 11 Jan 2012Leg 2 trophies awarded at Destination Village
- 11 Jan 2012Consistency the key for CAMPER, Telefónica