Alicante - Australian skipper Chris Nicholson helped his Camper team snatch the lead from Spanish rivals Telefonica in the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday.
Camper appeared on course to emerge from the doldrums in first place after overtaking early leaders Groupama of France.
Whoever emerges from this zone of light and unpredictable wind with the lead will be in prime position to hold on to top spot until the secret stop-off port between Cape Town and Abu Dhabi.
Camper found much stronger breezes to haul back Groupama and a victory would take the team into the overall lead, with Telefonica currently holding a three-point advantage.
"There's an awful lot more to play out in this race," a weary Nicholson said after the lead changed twice.
The team reaching the stop-off point first will win 24 points for this part of the leg, which has been split in two as part of the race's anti-piracy plan. The second stage, a short sprint into Abu Dhabi, will come after the boats have been shipped from the undisclosed "safe haven" port to Sharjah.
Camper lead Telefonica by 21 nautical miles (39kms) with the remainder of the fleet - Groupama, PUMA (United States) and Abu Dhabi - between 95 and 160 nautical miles (176 and 296kms) adrift of the pacesetters.
Chinese entry Team Sanya pulled out of the leg earlier on Saturday because of a broken rig, and will rejoin the race on leg three between Abu Dhabi and their host port in the Hainan Province.
The Volvo Ocean Race is regarded as the world's toughest sailing race and lasts for more than eight months, spanning in excess of 39 000 nautical miles.