CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand are the first to complete the 2000-mile qualifier. Watch their footage from onboard...

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Chris Nicholson and his ten crew have completed their 2000-mile qualification sail. Coming back to the team’s base in Auckland, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand will now take some time to rest a little after four weeks of testing.

The qualifying voyage voyage took the Volvo 70 from Christchurch in the South Island past North Cape on the tip of the North Island. Camper is the first launched for the 2011/12 race and is the first to complete her qualifying voyage.

A month ago, CAMPER first sailed off the southeast coast of New Zealand for a five-port tour. The Volvo Open 70 then left Christchurch on 9 May, heading to Auckland for a 2000-mile-long qualifying tour.

A 30 to 40-knot upwind breeze was a good offshore test for the boat and the men onboard, as Media Crew Member Hamish Hooper said at the halfway point of the trip.

“I see what they mean when they say this race is an endurance battle. The good thing is, hours seem to pass quite quickly despite the monotony and with each hour and mile passing, it’s one more hour and one more mile less until things look up – I just don’t know how many hours and miles I need to keep counting down.”

The team eventually reached Auckland on Sunday 15 May. “It’s good to be home, but what a privilege to sail on CAMPER with the bunch of guys we have on board,” confessed Hamish.

“I’m immensely impressed with each of them. I have no doubt with Nico and Stu, the strong and respected leaders they are, we will be a strong team. Right now I smell like I have never smelt before. Even my lovely mother is reluctant to give me a hug. Time for what will be one of the best showers of my life.”