The frontrunners in Leg 6 of the official Volvo Ocean Race game are threading themselves through myriad islands in the South Pacific as the sprint to Auckland heats up.
Top-ranked player goranagren of Sweden was one of a number of players choosing to sail right through the middle of the Solomon Islands archipelago as the 6,000-mile stage from Hong Kong enters its 13th day.
Goranagren now leads a band of virtual skippers to the west of Vanuata, an archipelago of more than 80 islands that lies 350 miles north-east of New Calendonia. Although a more direct route to Auckland from the last waypoint at the Solomon Islands, the course picked by goranagren and his compatriots such as nico555 and arthurdayne is an unorthodox one.
Winds are currently much lighter in the Coral Sea, the body of water between Australia and the Solomans, than they are more to the east where the rhumb line lies. The frontrunners’ speed was today down to around four knots with just under 1,400 miles still to go to the finish line.
Even more unusual though is the route still pursued by Your Mom SA, who instead of heading south east from Hong Kong opted to sail north east into the middle of the Pacific before turning right. Now firmly into the trade winds and about to cross the Equator, Your Mom SA has knocked off more than 15,000 places in four days and was today more than twice as quick as the frontrunners with a much more favourable forecast.
Which strategy will pay off? With potentially another five or six days left at sea in Leg 6, only time will tell. It's not too late to enter the leg – just head to www.volvooceanrace.com/game to enter.