Skipper Ian Walker declares that there are "plenty of opportunities" for overtaking manoeuvres

By the 07:00 GMT Position Report this morning (20 March), wind speeds were in the low teens. Ericsson 3 had increased its lead over sister ship Ericsson 4 to 80 miles – a gain of 30 miles overnight. PUMA was third at 160, also losing to the leader.

For Green Dragon ( 255), it is a case of treading warily, according to skipper Ian Walker. But at least the topography is easy on the eye. “We are threading our way through some outlying islands and reefs just off the northern edge of the Falkland Islands,” he said. ‘It’s an incredible sight. These are quite steep islands with clouds popping off the top of all of them.”

As for overtaking manoeuvres, Walker says there will be “plenty of opportunities” between now and the finish and the Irish-Chinese entry has designs on a podium position. “We’ve got two big high-pressure areas to negotiate. We will need a helping hand from the weather. We are about seven hours behind PUMA at this stage so we need the race to slow down for us at some stage I’d say.”

“Having said that, the miles come and go pretty quickly. We haven’t given up. Even in the last 24 hours into Rio you can get stuck for more than seven hours. Our intention is to hound down PUMA as best we can.”

Like his counterparts, Walker admitted that the StealthPlay cards might be wielded before the finish. “It’s something we should not disregard,” he said. “I thought about playing it very early in this leg when we nearly made the move Ericsson 3 did by going over the top of that low pressure coming out of Fiji. But I thought if I did that everyone will know what we’re doing.”

“It’s certainly something we’ve got up our sleeve. We can have a discussion about it, we’ve got to come up with a plan first.”

Positions – Friday 20 March (Day 35) 0600 GMT

1 Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) DTF 1, 321 nm
2 Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) 80
3 PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) 165
4 Green Dragon IRL/CHI (Ian Walker/GBR) 255
5 Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) 727