Team New Zealand's Camper still led in a dying breeze during today's seventh day of leg four but face challenges from north and south in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Camper is facing a tricky period of racing as a resurgent Telefonica benefited from taking a more southerly route to slip into second place, 17 nautical miles behind, while Groupama applied pressure from the north 81 miles off the pace.
With a slowly fading breeze and large patches of light air ahead, the fleet has continued to make its way east in search of the trade winds and for the best route to head south. It is expected to continue with this strategy for a few more days of sailing, before making the big turn for the next port of Auckland.
Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said that despite the ever present challenge from Telefonica and Groupama, he believed his team was well-positioned.
"We're in a crucial period at the moment as we're just trying to sneak through this light wind zone, which is tricky to say the least, but if we can get it right then we should be in good shape.
"We're probably in the lightest breeze we will be in right now, for the next couple of days, but once we get into the trades that will minimise the damage they can do.
"I think we're going bleed a few miles in this light stuff, but hopefully we've got enough in the bank to still wriggle out further to the east and hold them off."
While making for frustrating sailing, the lighter conditions, smother seas and sunny skies have given the crew on Camper a much needed opportunity to dry out wet clothing and make some minor repairs.