For those of us in the race team and all the families and friends who come out to the stopovers it is a bit like getting on a long, uncomfortable bus journey - you sit in a seat that is generally not quite big enough, doze for a few hours, and lo and behold - Australia! For the crews it is, obviously, different, and they will have a great sense of actually having journeyed to the ports, rather than just having been transported there. Ocean racing is exhilarating, but there are times where you are uncomfortable/seasick/a bit scared/cold/knackered (delete as applicable) and the fact that you turn up at your destination with a suntan and therefore not looking like a tourist is a major bonus. This leg so far has had the crews using every layer of clothing they have, but the windburn and, hopefully, the last few days of warmer weather coming in to Fremantle, Australia should sort that out.
As the yachts approach the last 1,000 miles, the weather up the eastern edge of the South Indian Ocean high will play a major part in the final outcome. The southern pack is reasonably well positioned to have fairly reliable wind nearly up to the coast, but Uniquely Singapore and Glasgow in the north may be seeing lighter breezes over the next two days. This is not the case at the moment, with each of them averaging over ten knots in the last twelve hours, but Richard FALK on Uniquely Singapore and Graeme JOHNSTON on Glasgow will be watching the forecasts carefully so as not to be caught out.
In the southern group Durban continues her run at the front, with Victoria grimly hanging on behind in second place. westernaustralia.com has edged back to have less lateral separation from the leading two, and Jersey and Qingdao are having a close match for fourth place. Behind them are Liverpool, New York and Cardiff who are making steady runs. New York are seeking out Liverpool's spot now, and the distance between the two is not enough for comfort for Tim MAGEE on Liverpool.