Does Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam have Race 10 all wrapped up?

With a commanding lead of close to 300 miles you’d think, barring any mishaps, the Vietnamese boat will sail into Seattle a day or two ahead of the chasing boats. And with the winning skipper of the 2000 edition of the race Bob Beggs at the helm, who is standing in for Josh Stickland, it’s got to be a done deal. Right?

But is there something developing with the weather that will either play into the team’s hands or potentially rob them of all its hard work?

Our weather Guru, Simon Rowell, has been watching this low develop over the last few days and had this to say: “The low coming up from the south is looking a bit better today, as in it should go ahead of almost all of you. It looks like Ha Long Bay is going to get closest to the centre, on Sunday or Monday, and at the moment, the strongest winds are off the west side, forecast to blow 40 gusting 55 kts. The sea state will get very washing machine like as the wind changes direction too. We’ll obviously have to see what tomorrow’s forecast brings, it’s changing every day right now.”

The boat who will be keeping the keenest eye on the developing systems is Bekezela, who is trailing the leaders by 850 plus miles currently. With the temperamental weather ahead, there is always a chance David Hartshorn and his crew could be served totally different conditions and many an ocean race has seen some incredible comebacks from positions like this. Come on Bekezela!

One of the most exciting battles playing out mid Pacific is for the remaining Race 10 podium positions between Perseverance, Qingdao, UNICEF and Zhuhai, who are in a tight formation and possibly within sight of each other. This battle is even more exciting because the overall race leaderboard is being contested by some of those in this pack.

Current overall edition leaders, Perseverance, will be giving its all to stay ahead of third placed Zhuhai, who must finish ahead of the Dutch boat to try and close the 16 point deficit between them. And with second place overall Dare To Lead further back in eighth this race, Zhuhai looks well placed to at least move up into second overall.

But there's a dark horse amongst them. UNICEF. The blue boat has been silently creeping its way up the leaderboard and has taken two podium places from the last three races. Add into the mix its Joker which the team played for this race across the North Pacific, and any finishing points it earns will be doubled.

And while talking Jokers, let's not forget the Vietnamese team dominating this race from Qingdao to Seattle, has also played its joker. A win would give the team 22 points and catapult it who knows where up the leaderboard.

There’s a lot more at stake than just the bragging rights to the mighty North Pacific and it’s all playing out right now.

But for our round the world crews, whatever position they are in, something very special is happening at the moment. For the first time since leaving Portsmouth in September last year, they are sailing towards the Finish Line. The change has come about as the fleet are crossing the International Date Line, when they will relive the same date twice. But with that, they will see their longitudinal coordinates that have been counting up to 180 east, swing round to 180 degrees west. From here on they will be able to watch the degrees countdown until the Finish Line in Portsmouth at one degree west.

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