In a final, cruel test to what has already been a punishing slog, the five teams still striving to reach Sydney are once again fighting headwinds and fickle airs in the Bass Strait, slowing their desperate efforts to finally cross the finish line.

IchorCoal in eighth position is now 19 nautical miles from the line, followed by ninth place Derry~Londonderry~Doire (63nm), Da Nang-Viet Nam (73nm), in tenth, eleventh place ClipperTelemed+ (136nm) and PSP Logistics (221nm) in twelfth.

IchorCoal Skipper Darren Ladd explains the conditions being faced as he reports: “We're under white sails now and pushing hard to get over the finish line against a cheeky Force 6 wind, typically out of the north northeast, our exact direction of travel. Sydney is a hard fought for prize at the end of a race that can only, at best, be described as a grueller!”

In contrast to some blistering downwind surfs yesterday, Da Nang-Viet Nam Skipper Wendy Tuck explains how progress has slowed as she notes: “After our cracking run across the Bass Strait yesterday afternoon, the breeze changed and we were able to get a kite up for a few hours. It was really lovely sailing but the breeze started going forward before we got to Montague Island, so we had to drop it.

“Still the going wasn’t too bad nearly making the rhumb line, but all that is now over. We are back to living on the north face and bashing our way up the coast. So we won’t be arriving until Monday some time...boooo. I don’t even want to have a guess at what time.”

Despite the frustrating fact that his team is so close, yet so far, ClipperTelemed+ Skipper Matt Mitchell is looking at the positives of the situation. He says: “It's been nice to have a reprieve from the constant slamming and crashing of going upwind for a few days, however those dulcet tones are upon us again with the boat heeled over at a very steep angle. Still we will keep on trucking and hopefully our progress will improve over the next few hours."

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DON’T MISS: Your chance to win a limited edition watch as worn by the Clipper Race Skippers in their global endurance challenge in this race’sElliot Brown Timekeeper Cup Competition.

All positions correct as of 0900 UTC.

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