SHK/Scallywag and team AkzoNobel have taken a northern routing option, but the early returns are favouring the larger group further to the southeast, led by Team Brunel.
Scallywag and AkzoNobel tacked immediately after passing the southern tip of Taiwan. The rest of the fleet followed suit but a significant gap has developed, with nearly 100 miles separating the two groups.
MAPFRE, the overall race leader, is chasing down both Dongfeng and Team Brunel in the southern group. Navigator Juan Vila says the other boats are in sight.
"We tacked onto starboard and we can see DFRT, TBRU and also TTOP in the distance and on AIS at times. Winds are starting to free up to the SE and we are currently sailing close reaching with 20 knots of wind, while speedo is showing 14 and 15 knots at times.
"Routing will take us NE for a bit, then East and SE to the north of the Marian Islands. We will use a north pacific front and winds are expected to clock all the way around to S , SW, NW and NE as the front passes and the next high rebuilds to our north."
For Scallywag and AkzoNobel, they'll need to hope the wind fills in more strongly over the coming hours. But at the moment, where the southern group is seeing 15-20 knots, the northern pair are in 7 to 10 knots.
This sets up as an important day for positioning early in Leg 6.