The third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, starting on Sunday December 10, will take the real-life teams and the virtual fleet south from Cape Town in South Africa, dipping well into the famous Roaring Forties in a 6,500 nautical-mile epic to Melbourne, Australia.
Players encounter exactly the same weather conditions as the Volvo Ocean Race teams – and in this next leg they can expect mountainous seas, freezing water and a constant stream of violent depressions.
In the race proper the teams will be prevented from getting too close to Antartica's ice fields by an exclusion zone set by race management. However in the game, players will be free to head as far south as they dare. The further south a player goes the shorter the route to Melbourne becomes, but the risk of hitting an iceberg increases dramatically.
For the first time in the virtual race, there will be no limit on the number of cards, which operate the virtual boat's navigational equipment, that players can use during Leg 3.
Players may also notice an 'escort frigate' appearing halfway through the fleet. Any latecomers to the game will begin the leg from this point.
After his stunning win in Leg 2, Belgian player Rémy Quetstroey, competing as RQ-Naos, leads the overall rankings, with French virtual skippers tame bird and La_Semillante TPN in second and third. But with competition for the top spots so tight it could all have changed by the time the fleet reaches Melbourne just in time for Christmas.