Sanya - After days being slammed by huge waves, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet faced a different problem Thursday as a lack of wind forced them to head far away from their destination in New Zealand.
The tracker following the boats via race control in Alicante, Spain painted a bizarre picture as the six teams, who left Sanya in China on Monday, were all pointed towards Tokyo rather than Auckland.
Camper/Team New Zealand, in second place overall behind Spain's Telefonica, continued to hold what looked to be the strongest position in the leg four section of the race, sailing the furthest northeast.
Meanwhile, China's Team Sanya was technically leading the race from their position furthest to the south and closer to New Zealand.
The teams are waiting for a big system to kick in from the north and finally give them the chance to turn south towards their destination.
"Heading north towards Japan doesn't seem quite right, but apparently this is the quickest way to get to New Zealand," said Camper's navigator Will Oxley.
"It seems ridiculous and it's pretty hard to convince people, but all of the models are showing it's the right thing to do."
Between the battering the boats took in the South China Sea and the current desperate search for breeze there were a few brief hours overnight that saw the boats sailing in fast conditions with the wind behind them.
"We've been going at 20 knots and that's been as refreshing as cold lemonade on a hot summer's day," wrote America's Amory Ross from Puma, "it's brought smiles all round and a bit of cheer to our lives."
The boats are due to arrive in Auckland around March 8, though that could slip because of the conditions.
The nine-leg Volvo Ocean race 2011-12 finishes in Galway, Ireland, in July.