Blair Tuke realises that one mistake on the Volvo Ocean Race could make it a long journey.

Tuke's Mapfre were pipped by just 56 seconds in the famous Fastnet Race by China's Dongfeng Race Team in a thrilling finish to the two-and-a-half-day race.

The Kerikeri sailor said he took a lot from the event.

"You make one mistake and someone will pass you. You think you've been going well and you look around and see the other boats still around you," he said.

Advertisement

"If going around the world is going to be anything like this, it's going to be a long nine months.

"But all in all it's really fun."

Mapfre took out the Isle of Wight race in record time last week and now set their sights on a race from Plymouth to St Malo in France.

Dongfeng and Mapfre were tough to separate throughout the race, getting into some vital match-racing heading into the finish line where only metres were between them.

Tuke said they had some things to work on but were in a positive mind frame.

"We sailed a pretty good down wind to be in the lead but we managed to let it slip with Dongfeng coming from behind and beating us by a minute," Tuke said.

"It was good to get a little bit more offshore and get into the watch systems and do sail changes and manoeuvres under pressure and in anger and just get the boat in the groove in a straight line.

"It was really enjoyable and lots of positives for us as a team ... lots of things that we did well, some things that we didn't do so well that we will debrief and work on as we head into the race.

"For me personally, I really enjoyed it and I'm enjoying the group we are doing this with."