The Volvo Ocean Race fleet have been slammed with "wet, wild and fast" conditions as they charge southeast toward New Zealand.

Volvo Ocean Race reported that a wind-shift on Sunday saw the boats gain up to 25 knots in "uncomfortable, but fast conditions".

On February 1, the boats left Hong Kong for the 6,100 mile (11,297km) journey to New Zealand.

The fleet still have more than 4,000 nautical miles (7,408km) of sailing before they reach Auckland Harbour and crew member of leading yacht MAPFRE, Blair Tuke, said "things have got gradually a little bit worse".

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Read more: Sailing: Blair Tuke helps MAPFRE to win in Volvo Ocean Race

MAPFRE have taken the lead in the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo / Getty
MAPFRE have taken the lead in the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo / Getty

"Since the front hit it's been pretty full on," said Tuke.

"To start with it was about as good sailing as you can get, 20 to 25 knots of breeze and flat, flat water.

"Sea state and water on deck, it's probably the most water I've ever seen."

Dee Caffari, from Turn the Tide on Plastic who are currently in fourth place, said although it was a great way to gain some miles, it had been very wet.

Read more: Sailing: Sun Hung Kai crew member rescued after washing overboard in Volvo Ocean Race

Peter Burling on board Team Brunel. Photo / Yann Riou
Peter Burling on board Team Brunel. Photo / Yann Riou

"There is water pouring down the deck, everyone is wet, everything is wet inside and out but no one is complaining as we all know this is short lived and we will cover some serious miles while we are at it," Caffari said.

"And the water is warm, 19 degrees, matching the air temperature."

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Reflecting differing tactical choices, the fleet remains largely in two groups, with Peter Burling's Team Brunel narrowly in second place.

The second group of boats, which consist of Team AkzoNobel and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag , chose to tack hard north immediately after passing the southern tip of Taiwan.

Read more: Former Oracle boss Tom Ehman says the Volvo Ocean Race has lost credibility

Team Scallywag's navigator Libby Greenhalgh. Photo / Jeremie Lecaudey
Team Scallywag's navigator Libby Greenhalgh. Photo / Jeremie Lecaudey

Scallywag navigator, Libby Greenhalgh, hopes their bold tactical decision, which saw them win Leg 4 of the race, will pay dividend's once again.

"Long term, we're trying to hook into the northerly breeze. In theory, we'll be into that first and be in a position to come bow down on top of the fleet," said Greenhalgh.

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