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Finding the most accurate, profitable racing line to link up the ice gates will be key to success across the Indian Ocean. 
Timing will be critical, especially further down the track where current forecasts for six days hence are predicting the generation of very active, fast moving low pressure systems to emanate from between the two high pressure features which will set the agenda for the next few days.
These low pressure systems develop from the area to the south east of Madagascar, one of the globe's key cylcogenesis areas. The high pressure to the west, or left of the weather map, draws up cold air from the chilly south, while the other high to the east pulls down warm moist air from the tropical latitudes. 
This produces a very active, strong low pressure system. What the teams definitely do not want is to end up timing a NE'ly course to satisfy an ice gate, when the very strong NW'ly on the low's front arrive simulataneously. These would be potentially very challenging, and slow upwind conditions. But such a scenario - while visible in the medium term future just now - is changing all the time.
But just now the main question is how much to try and work the low pressures which are there, diving deeper south and back or whether to try and go more directly and be more at the wille of the systems as they arrive and leave a giant slalom or direct slalom?
Just now Virbac-Paprec 3 have just gybed to use the south westerlies at the back of the front they have managed to ride successfully for the last 48 hours or so, and have lost 14 miles this morning to MAPFRE who have been quickest of the peloton since the 0400hrs poll, also gaining seven miles on Estrella Damm.
Both Mirabaud and Neutrogena are still feeling the effects of the high pressure dorsal as it ridges east, and are very slow still. It seems cruel for both duos who 24 hours ago were very upbeat about having finally broken into the south and surfing at proper southern ocean speeds.
Meantime Hugo Boss is working the face of the next low, making 17-18 knots east in 35-40kts finally watching their DTL -(Distance to Leader) drop!

Standings at 1400hrs UTC Friday
1. Virbac-Paprec 3, 17.819 Miles From Finish
2. Mapfre, 599 Miles From Leader
3. Estrella Damm Sailing Team, 728
4. Groupe Bel, 756
5. Renault Z.E, 922
6. Mirabaud, 1.201
7. Neutrogena, 1.282
8. Gaes Centros Auditivos 1.416
9. Central Lechera Asturiana, 1.684
10. Hugo Boss, 1.729
11. We Are Water, 1.765
12. Forum Maritim Catala, 1.866
RTD Foncia 

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