The Volvo Ocean Race is a challenge at the best of times, but leg six from Hong Kong to Auckland is another kind of monster entirely.
While conditions are testing throughout the race, the race down the Auckland comes with the added fun of battling humidity around the equator.
As Kiwi sailor Justin Ferris puts it: "it's like the longest wet, camping holiday you can imagine."
Ferris, who was racing to Auckland aboard current leg leaders AzkoNobel, was competing in his second leg of the race and said while the team was happy with their position; they would not miss the conditions.
"It's very typical for this leg. No surprises that's for sure," he told the Herald. "We're happy. It's nice to be leading the pack at the moment but there's a lot of racing to come."
The fleet had made good time to the equator and Ferris estimated they would arrive in Auckland around February 25 or 26, which was ahead of the estimation when they set out from Hong Kong 11 days ago.
"That's a pretty good run if we can stick to that but obviously a lot can change, there's a lot of variables to come. We're certainly pushing as hard as we can that's for sure."
Having crossed the equator over the weekend, the fleet was headed toward the second set of doldrums and would also have to contend with the winds cause by Cyclone Gita.
While they wouldn't face the brunt of the cyclone, it would still have an effect on the conditions.
Fellow Kiwi aboard AzkoNobel Brad Farrand said while navigating such conditions was hard work; it was what sailors expected when they signed on for the race.
Farrand had been with the team since they set out from Spain in late 2017 and echoed Ferris' comments about the humid conditions adding to the challenge on board.
"Can't wait to get a little bit of cool, or at least get dry for a bit and get clean. At the moment you covered in salt and sweat. It's not comfortable to sleep; it's not comfortable to be on deck.
"You sweat pretty badly when you're in 30C heat and working your ass off."
The fleet was still over 3700km from reaching Auckland and while there was plenty of sailing ahead, Farrand admitted he was looking forward to getting back home for a couple of weeks.
"It's what you look forward to as a Kiwi – you want to sail into Auckland Harbour and all the support boats are around and I think it'll be one of the better stops on the race, so can't wait."
Team AzkoNobel led second-placed Scallywag by 7km after 11 days of racing, with Team Brunel 259km back in third place, while Turn the Tide on Plastic, DongFeng Race Team and MAPFRE were further back.
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