The countdown to Rio has begun for the frontrunners, as they beat upwind in good southerly Trade Winds.

The distance to finish is 1000 nautical miles for leader LMAX Exchange, while second-placed Qingdao, 303 nautical miles behind, has just started the Ocean Sprint section of the course.

Garmin, GREAT Britain and Derry~Londonderry~Doire will begin the section between the lines of latitude 5 degrees south and 10 degrees south in the next few hours, attempting to cross it in the fastest time for the additional coveted points up for grabs.

The three yachts in the centre of the leaderboard, Visit Seattle, PSP Logistics and ClipperTelemed+, seem to have just escaped the clutch of the Doldrums and are into the southerly flow as the normal south east Trade Winds bend to the right.

Mission Performance, Da Nang – Viet Nam, Unicef and IchorCoal are contending with the Doldrums, but should start to move north and so reduce the time spent in it, assuming they can continue heading generally south through it.

Peter Thornton, Skipper of GREAT Britain, now in third position 392 nautical miles behind LMAX Exchange, said: “We are cracking on south by west towards the Ocean Sprint latitudes.

“The wind remains more southerly than expected. We are hoping it will back soon. We have been hard on the wind through the night and finding the odd black hole which we plummet into with a slam. We are looking forward to sunrise to try and spot them a little easier.”

Skipper of sixth-placed Visit Seattle Huw Fernie said it had been a day of light and changeable winds with it changing direction often.

“So began a day of frustrating wind conditions, tacking and rain, so much rain! At one point the options we had were head east or head west, there was somehow no southerly option to either course. We tried both and neither was good, Rio is to the west, so I chose that and got rained on.

“By 1800 UTC the skies cleared and we were through, we had a team dinner on deck, sang some shanties and all said hello to the south easterly Trade Winds (hopefully soon they will blow from the south east too). We are back racing, it's hard to tell how we have done against the other boats, we'll find out over the next few days when we all line up and head for Rio, for now everyone is a bit too spread out to tell.”

All positions correct as of 0900 UTC.

For the latest updates, see the Race Viewer here. All position updates have now been rectified and updated following an issue in calculating distance to finish and distance covered in previous 12 hours because of the waypoint position. This has now been moved further ahead of the fleet to the next waypoint at Cape Frio, Brazil.

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