ABN Amro One led the Volvo Ocean Race fleet into the Southern Ocean proper on Friday on the fifth day of leg two from Cape Town to Melbourne.
Mike Sanderson’s crew held a slender lead over Paul Cayard’s Pirates of the Caribbean as the five boats surged to the east on the 6100 nautical mile leg.
ABN Amro Two is 30 miles adrift with early leader Movistar 77 miles back.
The decision for skippers now is whether to dive south for stronger winds but risk damage to their boats.
If they carry on east at the same latitude – between 42 and 43 degrees south – they risk running into a lighter breeze.
But they would be closer to the first ice “gate”, a virtual mark placed on the course for safety to ensure they do not stray too far into the iceberg zone further south.
The fleet was reduced to five from the original seven after Team Ericsson and Brasil 1 returned to South Africa earlier this week following damage.