Bouwe Bekking's Team Brunel has extended to a narrow three mile lead after 24 hours of racing in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Bekking's crew have had to deal with a plastic bag on the rudder that cost them some miles, but since getting back up to speed, the team has steadily marched forward.
"We were on the wind, we were going very well, and soon found ourselves in the lead, but then all of sudden we were super slow. In no time we lost half a mile, the cause a huge plastic bag on the rudder," Bekking reported.
"We actually had to do two tacks to get it off, losing more distance, but from then on we were slowly chipping away again.
"It got very bumpy and the wind was up to 30 knots, meaning sail changes and reefing, but all that went well and now we're roughly 3 miles ahead."
The wind has since eased into the 12 to 18 knot range and should get more variable as the fleet nears the southern tip of Taiwan over the coming hours, after which most routing predictions have the boats heading more to the north, sailing extra distance to get more favourable conditions.
"We'll get lifted near Taiwan and bizarrely turn left and be heading north rather than south to our final destinaion (New Zealand)," said SHK/Scallywag navigator Libby Greenhalgh.
"There's a frontal system coming through in about four days and ahead of that there will be a large area of light winds. We have to go north to get around that and then also pick up a northerly breeze associated with that front (to get south)."