The finale for the frontrunners of the Marlow Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride is close and with only three nautical miles separating Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and Qingdao, much of the result will be decided by tactics used around challenging weather systems.

Qingdao Skipper Chris Brooks said “The breeze has finally freed us and we are now cracked sheets on a fine reach. These boats really get up and go on this point of sail and so long as we stay like this it makes third place less of a threat.”

Quest for third place continues and current race position reports favour Imagine your Korea, which has resurfaced from Stealth Mode. This tactical decision has paid off as the team is in a prime position for seizing that all-important third podium spot. Skipper Dan Smith, who isn’t settling for third place just yet, commented: “There’s healthy margin behind us and the leaders obstinately stuck between us and the finish (albeit coming back to us a little more at each position update). Each schedule is eagerly studied for any glimpse of opportunity, and the team on deck keeps trimming, keep each other focused on the helm.”

Meanwhile WTC Logistics has taken the decision to activate Stealth Mode and is due to resurface on the race viewer today at 17.59 UTC. GoToBermuda Skipper David (Wavy) Immelman paid homage to this decision taken by his fellow Skipper: “Another night at an angle and a few sail changes to try and keep to our north easterly heading. Looking back all the time at Mark and Dan on WTC Logistics, when suddenly they have gone into Stealth Mode. Now we have to wait for 24 hours to see how we are doing, while they can see us. Good call Mark.”

Weather systems are playing havoc with the rest of the fleet with extremes at both ends of the weather-spectrum. Seattle Skipper David Hartshorn reports: “Our target for today was 1,050nm to go at the lunchtime meeting today, two hours away at the time of writing, we are 75 short. Also the barometer has stayed at the same level for about 12 hours now suggesting we are just keeping pace with the low pressure system and stuck in the same place relative to it.”

Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China are both entering the Roaring Forties and the teams are enjoying the thrill of the chase: Skipper Seumas Kellock stating: “Yesterday Carl hit our top boat speed with a 27.5 knot surf, let the competition begin!”

The Race Viewer is updated hourly and continues to provide all the exciting updates, make sure you stay tuned!

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