"It feels like the leg only started a short time ago, yet on the other side, Cape Town seems but a distant memory," said navigator Simon Fisher in his Wednesday blog. In the last week, Vestas 11th Hour Racing has gybed over 30 times balancing the need to sail the shortest distance by sailing south and remaining north of the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone. As these maneuvers require 40 minutes each, this has left the sailors sleep-deprived in cold conditions pushing their limits both mentally and physically.
A welcomed relief in the wind direction on Tuesday allowed the sailors to sail in a straight line drag racing and outrunning a developing high-pressure system of light wind. After passing the last ice gate on Thursday, there are now opportunities to take more risks for the blue boat to try and catch the leaders, Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE.
"We still have our sights on the red boats, but for now we will have to be patient. Hopefully, we will get another opportunity to close them down in the coming days."
Vestas 11th Hour Racing is expected to arrive in Melbourne, Australia on Christmas morning.