x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Bow damage forces Camper out of Volvo's Leg 5 to Brazil

Camper with Emirates was forced out of Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, setting course for the west coast of Chile and a port to repair its damaged bow.

Rob Salthouse manages on the foredeck during a sail change onboard Camper.
Rob Salthouse manages on the foredeck during a sail change onboard Camper.

Some of the most treacherous sailing conditions in the world claimed a third victim in the Volvo Ocean Race when title challenger Camper was forced to head to Chile to make repairs on a broken bow.

Camper was in third place overall and had led for long periods in the fifth leg to Itajai, Brazil, before a massive wave hit the boat.

Australian skipper Chris Nicholson tried slowing the boat down to carry out repairs mid-ocean, but he ended their hopes of winning the leg by setting a course change on Sunday to Puerto Montt on the west coast of Chile.

"We're 2,500 nautical miles away from where we have to go in Chile but after the repairs are done we're going to continue racing and finish the leg," Nicholson said. "The Southern Ocean gives you the best and worst days of your life, and it's fair to say these last few have not been the best."

In little more than a week since the fleet set sail from Auckland to Itajai, three boats have received major structural damage due to high winds and waves the size of two-story buildings.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing was forced to suspend racing for about 12 hours to fix a sail mounting that had been ripped off, and China's Team Sanya pulled out of the current leg to return to New Zealand for long-term repairs on a broken rudder.

French boat Groupama, in second place overall, led the leg by 45 nautical miles from the US team, Puma, with overall race leader Telefonica 100 miles adrift in third place.

The boats have more than 4,000 nautical miles before reaching the next stopover destination.

The 39,000-nautical mile, nine-month race is scheduled to finish in July in Galway, Ireland.