It almost seems as if Cape Reinga, New Zealand gets farther and farther away as the teams approach the final stretch. With the final 400 NM a-head, the wind has shifted forward, making the teams work up wind until the very end. Most of the teams are tired and beat up from the many sail changes due to constantly changing conditions. Some haven’t slept at all. “The 25 knot winds and the short steep chop was reminiscent of the beginning of the leg through the South China Sea”, says team Abu Dhabi’s skipper Ian Walker. Not to mention this leg has taken a few more days then expected and has caused the teams to break into their ration reserves. Needless to say I think these guys are ready for a break.
The race leader, Team Groupama, seems unaffected by all this as they continue to extend their lead to 131 NM. Oddly enough, despite the fleet being split almost 50/50 for most of the leg, the boats sailing two entirely different courses have converged and found themselves in a heated battle for 2nd place. The last report at 10:00 UTC has Team Camper in 2nd place approximately 40NM ahead of Berg’s Team Puma, in third, and Team Telefonica, right on their heels, only 2NM a-stern, holding on securly to the 4th position.