Team NZ second in ocean race leg
Sat, 16 Jun 2012 8:37p.m.
Team New Zealand have fended off a double attack to claim second spot in the penultimate leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, while overall leaders Groupama have tightened their grip on the title.
Groupama, from France, won leg eight from Lisbon to their home port of Lorient to extend their lead at the top of the table to 23 points over American entry Puma.
Team NZ's crew on Camper are third, five points further back, leaving them with just an outside chance of claiming overall honours with one ocean leg and two in-port races to go.
Camper completed the 1940-nautical-mile journey to Lorient in just over five days and about an hour behind Groupama, after the fleet encountered some extreme weather, with winds gusting over 50 knots and waves up to seven to eight metres.
Team NZ managed to record a run of 564.922nm during one 24-hour stretch, the most by any of the six VO70s in the race so far.
They also fended off one-time overall leaders Telefonica of Spain and then Puma, beating the Americans into port by 13 minutes on Saturday (NZ time).
"To finish second here and get ourselves back on the podium is massive for all sorts of reasons," Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said.
"It gets us on a nice roll heading into the finish and it's something positive for the team at a vital time."
However, Nicholson accepted that "Groupama are in with a pretty good shot now" of the title.
The fleet is back in action on July 1 in an in-port race in Lorient, before setting off the next day for the 485nm sprint to Galway in Ireland.
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