The route followed by the different boats in Leg 4, Sanya to Auckland, has been hardly similar for the different boats in the Volvo Ocean Race.
In the first part of the Race it was Puma that set off to a Northerly course, that made viewers believe they were heading to Japan, rather than New Zealand. Groupama followed Puma up to a certain extent only to favor the most of the Northerly-Easterly route.
Half way on approach of the Equator some un-expected windshift occured and made 3 boats decide to sail West or in between the Solomon islands, while the 3 Eastern boats would sail East of the Solomon. This worked out good for Telefonica and Camper on the West but bad for Azzam in the East; the former two could cut the distance while winds were reasonable but Azzam had a bad angle to the Solomon SE cliffs, while the decreasing wind strength caught them out.
Now in the final part of the Leg, south of the Solomon, all boast converge on a route west of New Caledonia. Where the advance of the Eastern boats is dwindling compared to the 2 front Western boats.
It will be a close battle for the Podium places till Auckland. Finish is now predicted as on the 10th of March.
And I just read that the VOR race tracker is changing to a 1 min. update for the last 2 days of the Leg 4, to bring the excitement of the End-Sprint into Auckland also to your screens.