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TROPHEE JULES VERNE

Orange Saturday on the highway around the world

Peyron and his boys took their second start

samedi 2 mars 2002

image 300 x 158Photo : G.Martin-Raget
We were warned that this Saturday March 2nd would be classified "Orange" for the half-term traffic, both outward bound and inward bound ? and also on the Atlantic with the toing and froing of the two "Giants" : back to port for the unfortunate Geronimo and a fresh start this morning at 08 hours 36 minutes and 21 seconds (French time) for Bruno Peyron and his maxi-catamaran "Orange".

After leaving Vannes yesterday at nightfall, Peyron and his men gently negotiated a tricky exit from the Gulf of Morbihan. It was a windy, rough night for the crew, busy with final adjustments to the mast. And at 0600 this morning the giant orange catamaran was closing in on the starting line off Ushant. The forecast wind was waiting for them : 25, even 30 knots from the NE whipping up a nasty chop in the Channel approaches. Without hanging around, but with precaution, "Orange", under triple reefed main and nothing on the forestay, crossed the line on starboard tack. A first gybe to clear Ushant and Bruno Peyron decided to progressively put on sail : the staysail first, to pass through the nasty chop against the tide without too much slamming, then a reef was shaken out before hoisting the breeze spinnaker, so dear to Hervé Jan, a hybrid sail between a solent and a gennaker, terribly efficient in a breeze off the wind.

The first surfs and the first pleasures around midday, the catamaran was sailing well offshore, on a sea smooth at last and just right for accelerations. "28/30 knots ! But still without forcing" confirmed Peyron during the radio chat. Two weeks after his first unfortunately aborted start, the orders on the "giant" are unchanged : get progressively into the race, give everyone enough time to get into rhythm, and gently pile on the power. "We’ve got 24 difficult hours to negotiate, with strong winds that will progressively become easterly", explained Bruno, "then a first rotation off Portugal, as early as Monday probably." Indeed, Orange should be sailing off Cape Finistere this evening, "a zone we don’t like too much, with nasty tides and strong winds that accelerate off the mountains" admitted Bruno.

The system of three watches is already up and running ; four men on deck, four men on standby and four men at rest. The thirteenth man, Bruno Peyron is off watch and on call for strategy and weather duties. "we’re closely watching how the system that is pushing us is evolving" explained Peyron, "but it’s already important to see how the trade winds south of Spain are behaving so that we can anticipate if possible and get into position on the downwind route."

So "Orange" is tackling this Jules Verne Trophy under excellent auspices, with strong favourable winds announced as far as Cape Saint Vincent (Spain). "Motivated and enthusiastic" in the words of the skipper, the crew is molly codling the giant catamaran whose mast is the object of regular but serene attention. "At more than 20 knots, heading south, it’s a happy crew settling into the race" concluded Peyron.

Weather situation :

A zone of high pressure centred over the Channel is pushing away a low off Portugal. This is resulting in a strong NE flow (25 knots and more) which will sweep the Bay of Biscay for 48 hours. On clearing away to the south, the low will continue to generate NE winds as far as Spain. Passing the centre of the low will be tricky to negotiate before a swing to the NW sometime on Monday.

Objective ; to see Ushant again before May 12th at 23h 57mn 29s (French time) therefore claiming the famous Jules Verne Trophy !

Information Mer&Media / Orange

Map : Geronimo vs Orange



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