Volvo Ocean Race
Camper in trouble at Volvo
Auckland - Brutal conditions in the Southern Ocean forced a third Volvo Ocean Race boat to start the long, hazardous journey to find a haven for repairs on Sunday after discovering major structural damage.
Australian skipper Chris Nicholson and his Camper crew decided they had no option but to head for Puerto Montt on the west coast of Chile to fix a crack in the bow - and that could take them 10 days to reach in towering waves and high winds.
The New Zealand crew, lying third overall and in great form after winning the latest in-port race in Auckland, were about 100 miles from the so-called Point Nemo which is reckoned to be the furthest position from land on the globe.
"We need to make some repairs and we are 2 500 nautical miles away from where we are going," said Nicholson. "Puerto Montt is about 800 miles nautical miles north of Cape Horn.
"What lead us to this course is I guess like a classic Southern Ocean snowball effect where we had some problems with our bulkhead early on in the race, we repaired that only for that repair to fail again."
Camper still plan to finish Leg 5 in Itajai in Brazil once repairs have been made but their hopes of making up ground on overall leaders Telefonica of Spain and France's Groupama look to have taken a big blow.
Abu Dhabi, who ran into trouble with a ripped-out sail mounting on day one of the fifth leg, could be the big beneficiaries after they rejoined the race.
They should now be able to claim at worst fourth place. China's Team Sanya, the second boat hit by structural damage, are out of the stage, having been forced to turn back to New Zealand.
Forecasts are for winds to continue blowing up to 40 knots for the next 48 hours.
French boat Groupama led by 47 miles from American-led Puma with Spanish overall leaders Team Telefonica in third around 90 miles off the pace.
Overall standings after four legs
1. Telefonica (Spain) 122 points, 2. Groupama (France) 107, 3. Camper/ETNZ (Spain/New Zealand) 104, 4. Puma (United States) 83, 5. Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) 55, 6 Team Sanya (China) 25