While the Volvo Ocean Race fleet bounce along the ice exclusion zone put in place to keep the teams clear of Antarctica’s icebergs, the virtual skippers of the official game are now the furthest south they have been in the 2017-18 edition.
Because game players are not restricted by ice gates, the virtual fleet has been able to sail a more southerly – and therefore shorter – course towards Cape Horn, the next waypoint.
Six days in into Leg 7, leading player tesan from Sweden is at 56 degrees south, blasting along the Southern Ocean highway at speeds in the mid 20s. As always in a fleet of more than 48,000 players, it’s tight at the top.
On Friday morning tesan’s lead on second-placed scorpennic29sTPN was 0.03 of a nautical mile, with Mark 1616 in third was 0.4 of a mile behind.
And from tesan in first to Pinouche in 50th there is just five miles.
For now, the strategy remains relatively simple thanks to the constant Southern Ocean westerlies – get east as quickly as possible.
All-out speed will be the key until the fleet hits Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America and begins the climb north to Itajaí.
Leg 7 might be the longest of the legs of this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race but it’s proving to be a fast one so far.
In fact, tesan has clocked up 2,700nm since leaving Auckland on Sunday March 18, leaving around 4,000nm to the finish line.
But, just like every leg in the virtual fleet, the action is only just getting started.
It’s still not too late to join in the official game – just go to https://www.volvooceanrace.com/game to sign up and race in the Volvo Ocean Race Game.