The fleet has had another day of exciting downwind sailing, with a front also starting to move over it providing more exhilarating conditions.

The prelude to the front will see gusting winds of 50 knots from the north west and create a confused sea state, and the boats which are furthest south will experience stronger conditions still.

Daniel Smith, Skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, in second, behind leader LMAX Exchange, said: “It has been a day of exciting downwind sailing. Dark clouds coming from astern have been bringing winds of up to 50 knots, meaning that we've had some exciting sailing and sail changes.

“Crew are tired although the stormy conditions have now become normal and the team are settling into their new routine. By the end of each watch, everybody is suitably soaked and cold and after four hours sleep it all starts again. The hard work is paying off however and the boat is going well,” Daniel added.

Peter Thornton, Skipper of GREAT Britain, in fourth, added: “It was a certainly another blustery old night again and the helming was challenging. Reefed down as required with a headsail out front running with the conditions sounds manageable - well it was, but just. The seaway is difficult as it's confused and choppy due to the squally conditions. The wind ranging from around 25-40 knots, maybe more at times, but it's difficult to tell in such a black night and the mast head moving as much as it is when we pitch and roll.”

On board Garmin, the helms have been enjoying some fast speeds, with 25 knots being recorded several times over the last few days.

There are 2225 nautical miles to run for leader LMAX Exchange until the finish line of the Wardan Whip into Albany, Australia, whereas for seventh-placed IchorCoal, the Kerguelen Islands mark the halfway point of the race and the team is now a little over a day ahead of them.

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