Virtual skipper Mangina – PYR now occupies the top spot as racing enters its ninth day, and with just over 1,200 nautical miles of action left. Mangina, from Adelaide in Australia, is no stranger to success in Virtual Regatta games – he won the 2016-17 Vendee Globe game.
But Leg 3 victory at this stage is anything but assured.
Second placed Tessa94 from Sweden is just 0.21nm behind in terms of distance to finish, despite being slightly more to the east, because they are also further south. Around 20 miles north of Mangina, New Zealand's NZ-Eligo - PYR in third is 0.48nm back, although the rankings among the top players is constantly changing. And the intensity of Leg 3 shows no sign of easing up – especially as less than five miles separate the top 50 players.
All three leaders are on starboard tack having gybed to get a better angle on the south-westerly winds currently firing them towards Melbourne. The lack of an ice exclusion zone has allowed the virtual fleet to dip almost as low as the Screaming Sixties, unlike the real Volvo Ocean Race teams which have been forced to stay more north.
A big Southern Ocean depression currently lies between the virtual fleet and Melbourne, ensuring a fast and furious end to Leg 3. The first skippers are tipped to cross the finish line on Thursday.