If you look at the tracker on Friday morning (UTC) you'll notice all of the teams have started to ease left towards Cape Town. In fact, they're almost pointing directly at the finish port.
But this is unklikely to last long. Although this direction is favoured for the current wind speeds and direction, within the next 36 hours, we expect to see another gybe to the southwest in an effort to pick up the 'Cape Town Express', the low pressure system that brings strong downwind conditions to push the teams home.
So again, we suggest caution when looking at the rankings. Tactially, it still seems like being to the south will be advantageous over the next 72 hours. If that is true, then Dongfeng, MAPFRE and Brunel and Vestas 11th Hour Racing are probably better positioned than team AkzoNobel, showing as the current leader.
But that will take time to play out. And if the expected weather doesn't come, perhaps cutting the corner will work for the AkzoNobel crew.
In the meantime, we received this report via the crew communicator from Rob Greenhalgh on MAPFRE:
The drag race south continues with the longer term weather ahead very uncertain. How teams choose to position in the south Atlantic will determine the race with a lot of risk/reward on offer to those willing to play.
Currently Akzo, TT and Scally could make some losses being too close to the high pressure. The risky move would be to turn east early and go direct or take a loss to try to rejoin the lead pack. Who knows...
Mapfre are enjoying life an a fast leg so far with a relatively easy doldrums and equatorial crossing. Our boat speed seems good and the team is working very well across the watch system.
We have over the last 12hrs just lost touch with Dongfeng but this will swing back in due course. The fleet constantly compresses and extends as we find different wind fields.
Looks like a Cape Town arrival next weekend at some stage. For sure there is going to be a lot of action between now and then as the fleet enters the southern ocean. #vamosMAPFRE