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Orange is slaloming between the islands

jeudi 7 mars 2002

Slaloming between the islands, schussing along the edges of highs... the ’no faults’ descent of the North Atlantic is drawing to a close for the maxi-catamaran Orange in site of the Doldrums. The wind is dying, the sky is clouding over, and the speedometer is falling to more ’normal’ standards... this is the great ocean toll plaza, the moment when you have to cough up to see. The Equator is on the signposts and for the thirteen record Record #sailingrecord chasers, the hours are going to get longer, unless its the miles that have suddenly got longer...

Like for the Canaries, Bruno Peyron has chosen to leave the Cape Verde islands to his leeward. Between loosing one’s wind or getting caught in a venturi effect, Orange’s skipper is sticking with his general strategy and last night was pursuing a southerly route slightly curved to the west without as much as a glance at the last inhabited land posted on the route of his catamaran. Barely slowed during the night, Orange is maintaining her pace : more than 2500 miles under the twin transoms since Ushant, at an average of 20.5 knots. Sir Peter Blake’s record Record #sailingrecord to the Equator can tremble. But with 700 miles still to go before changing hemispheres, Peyron remains prudent. The Doldrums, the intertropical convergence zone will rise up before their bows tomorrow and impose and the men and their machine its legendary whims. "For the time being" explained Peyron the pragmatic, "the wind is still NNE and is pushing us at about fifteen knots. We’re nice and westerly now, much more than on my last voyage with Commodore, and according to our weather files, we should benefit right to the end from a little air."

To bag this very symbolic first record Record #sailingrecord , Orange must enter the Southern Hemisphere before 1200 on Saturday.

Extremely technique, this first part of the race has required considerable responsiveness from the crew. As emphasised by Yann Eliès, "our very full set of foresails enables us to constantly adapt to the slightest variations of wind in strength and angle. This results in an impressive number of manœuvres, 38 sail changes since the start."

After only six days into the race, Orange’s crew is in indecent physical shape : "The boys are ready for the deep south. They’re manoeuvring to perfection, sleeping like babies and are devouring like ogres" added Bruno. "This complicated navigation has obliged us to be 100% attentive and responsive. So far, we haven’t been able to complain about a single false manœuvre" concluded Peyron.

Quote / unquote...
- Yann Eliès : "It took me two days to cut all ties with the shore. I am now completely in phase with my watch, the Breton watch, with Hervé Jan, Sébastien Josse and Yves Le Blévec. The boat is extremely reassuring and Bruno is the "Boss" on board. Very discreet, he always intervenes at the right moment for a change of heading or sails…"
- Bruno Peyron : "It’s been a very technical first part to the race, when we had to constantly anticipate and play with not always favourable wind angles. In these conditions our ’scores" since the start have been very satisfactory. It’s frustrating when you know Orange’s potential, not being able to give her her head. But we have to favour headings in order not to fall into traps. We’re very concentrated on the evolution of the weather over the next 2 or 3 days but we can’t help glancing at the enormous St Helena high parked in our way..."

Denis van den Brink / Mer & Media / Orange

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