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Jules Verne Trophy

Orange against Enza’s Ouessant to Equator record

vendredi 8 mars 2002

24 hours to cover 415 miles and inscribe the name of Orange in place of Enza and Sir Peter Blake on the Ushant-Equator record Record #sailingrecord  ; Almost a formality anywhere else on the globe for a new generation maxi-catamaran. But a bit of a challenge when approaching the land of darkness, the Doldrums, the nightmare of mariners of yore. Tomorrow at 1236, the count will probably be not quite enough for the Orange men. Bruno Peyron knows it. His mind is already elsewhere, ready for the next obstacle. His thoughts go out to Sir Peter Blake, tragically lost last year, in southern latitudes. From the Enza era, this record Record #sailingrecord is the last one still offering resistance to modern maxi-multihulls. Peyron smiles : "It’s a fitting story !"

North-north-east, North-north-east ! For the last 4 days now the wind has been stubbornly blowing from dead astern of the maxi-catamaran Orange. 4 days of combat and incessant manoeuvring for the crew permanently searching for the most favourable wind angles to finally unleash the power of the catamaran Orange. But the wind is dead astern, and with the big gennaker, the more than honourable speeds can hardly compensate for the unnecessary miles covered tacking downwind. "Conditions aren’t "bad"" explained Bruno Peyron, "they’re just not ideal for good speed." The absent trade winds have swapped places off Sierra Leone with light winds, unstable in strength and obstinately blowing in their backs. Ahead of Orange’s bows, the masses of hot humid Equatorial air are crushing down on the sea and from tonight the pressure will gradually start easing on the giant cat’s sails. A ! ll that remains is the men, and their magic skill of being able to get the most out of the elements : "We have on board some veritable "jewellers" and a lots of "artists"" described Peyron, "The jewellers work away at sometimes three-times-nothing on elements vital for the good progress of the boat ? the artists are at the helm. They are at one with the boat, breathe to the rhythm of the waves and create with each movement of the helm the necessary acceleration that keeps speeds over those of the wind !"

To better lean into the 12 knots of wind reigning over the water, Orange has altered course slightly to the South-east. The Equator will be crossed at 26° longitude West. "A good door" according to Gilles Chiorri to skirt that other "monster" of the Southern Hemisphere, the Saint Helena high.

Quote / unquote...

- Bruno Peyron : "Watches follow one another with application. The slightest degree is negotiated, the best helmsmen relay each other to keep the concentration up. The direction of the wind is bad, but we’ve got to get through and gain every single mile to the south."

"Flashback : at 0143 last night, under main and big gennaker, 12 to 14 knots of wind, suddenly ! A loud bang at the top of the mast. Emergency back off, difficult to see what’s going on. The gennaker luff is slack. We roll it up, lower it and send up the reacher in its place. Florent Chastel scales to the top of the mast in complete darkness, the halyard swivel has exploded... an express repair, back up with the gennaker, down with the reacher, we’re off again. It all lasted about 1 hour".

- Philippe Péché : "In light airs you have to restart the boat permanently. It’s a tricky exercise that demands all the members of the watch to co-ordinate the movements of the helmsman with the tension of the sheets and the angle of the daggerboard. It demands a lot of concentration. You come off steering watch exhausted..."

- Gilles Chiorri :"Tomorrow evening the Equator ! We’re trying to stick to the straightest line possible to the Equator. No more miles than necessary. We’re far enough west for a good crossing into the Southern Hemisphere."

Denis van den Brink / Mer & Media / Orange

Map : Geronimo vs Orange

Dans la même rubrique

TROPHEE JULES VERNE : Orange is slaloming between the islands

Trophée Jules Verne : Geronimo on her way home

Multi 60 : Fred Le Peutrec’s Bayer launched in La Rochelle

image 300 x 150The new trimaran in the port of La Rochelle. Note the rudders (in orange). Photo : Bernard Gergaud.

TROPHEE JULES VERNE : Peyron less than 1000 miles from the equator line

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