Volvo Ocean Race- Light winds set to deal another hand

Overall leader of the Volvo Ocean Race Telefonica skippered by Iker Martinez passes the statue of the bodhisattva Guan Yin shortly after the start of Leg 4 from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand

While official reports have it that Groupama is leading the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race - using the snap-shot placing system, the weather routing projections tell a different story.

As the fleet splits following the Mark Foy start, it would seem that the margins have been largely erased that were injected into the starting order, after yesterday's coastal race.

The next 24 hours will be key - with a period of light winds set to hit the fleet - and there would not appear to be any easy way around these - just a matter of mitigating the damage.

According to the projections from!PredictWind using the routing feature, with the latest positions inserted it will be Telefonica who will be first to reach the first waypoint off the Phillipines.

Fleet positions Leg 4 enroute to the Phillipines waypoint February 20,2012 Volvo Leg 4

She is projected to be just three minutes ahead of Abu Ahabi (Ian Walker), with Puma (Ken Read) in third. The next two boats, Groupama and Camper will be very close just over an hour behind Puma, with Sanya, another hour behind them.

However the wind strength and direction will be critical, as big gains and losses have been made in a very short space of time in previous legs - often determining the outcome of the leg in just a few hours.

But two hours after these position reports were run through the Prediuctwind system, Groupama broke back, to get ahead of Telefonica and Abu Dhabi.

We'll have more news in six hours or so.

Course options for Telefonica Leg 4 enroute to the Phillipines waypoint February 20,2012 Volvo Leg 4 (1)