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Jules Verne Trophy

Orange in low wind

Peyron : "It’s a difficult year for a record !"

jeudi 14 mars 2002

image 300 x 158Photo : JP Epron / Maxi Catamaran Orange
"It’s a difficult year for a record Record #sailingrecord  !" declared Peyron, and the maxi-catamaran Orange’s heading confirms it. It’s no straight and narrow for the orange giant. The daily lot of Peyron and his men is a permanent combat against these winds that veer, disappear, and which have to be fetched far off the direct route. Orange is accumulating extra miles. Orange is progressing. Orange is still ahead. In the heat of the end of the southern summer, Peyron’s men are ready ; that far off murmur, that distant din, it’s the Southern Ocean.

End of a "buffer" day in which the catamaran never ceased to stumble up against the high-pressure calms. It’s a "restarting" day. Another two gybes in the night and early this morning, to be added to the 66 sails changes in 12 days. Eyes permanently on the barometer. And the awaited breeze is there. Nearly ten knots, then fifteen... the big gennaker is sheeted in. Orange gathers speed. Alter course to the south-east, a perfect 130° on the compass. "It’s the slip road to the motorway" according to Gilles Chiorri. "The motorway is there, but we know there will be some more roadworks to slow us down before the great disturbed flows of the South". What sort of roadworks ? More like a barrage, in the shape of a zone of high pressure that is spreading from the coast of Argentina threatening Peyron’s route. "We’ve got 24 to 48 hours of well established north-westerlies ahead of us". Explained Gilles Chiorri. "We’re keeping an eye on this anticyclone that will be our final obstacle before the strong winds that blow below 40° South". So Orange should be accelerating today, keeping up the excellent average recorded since the start. "Our performance is as good as the leaders of The Race last year" said Peyron. "Despite our constant manoeuvring and an extended route and a very westerly position (175 miles further west than Club Med), our speeds are similar. On the other hand, we’re 550 miles further west than Sport Elec in 97. But we also have a 3-day lead over Kersauson’s position. The passage of the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope will be a good indication of our capacity to manage this lead". After 12 days of racing, the big cat, fully checked over and trimmed, is, like her crew, in impeccable condition and ready to face the most inhospitable seas of the planet ; "The boat has already shed more than 500 kg of food and fuel used", explained Peyron. "As for the men, they’re working hard, eating a little less because of the heat and are ready and raring to go."

Quote / unquote

- Bruno Peyron : "We haven’t put a foot wrong since the start, or at least not too much... We have always carried the right sail for the weather, neither too much nor too little. It’s certain that in a good year a boat like Orange could gain 2 _ days over our current time. Let’s hope that the South will be reserving us straighter tracks than the Atlantic. In a few days time we’ll be discovering the breathtaking high-speed descents down the backs of the long southern swell. The albatrosses and the fabulous Antarctic light effects will be all ours."

- Gilles Chiorri : "Distribution of mittens this morning, and the final check-ups of the boat are scheduled for today. The sea is still "tropical blue" and the sunshine is strong. We altered course to the south-east this morning, which is synonymous with leaving the high behind. The boat is in great shape and we’re continuing to discover and fine tune our settings."

Denis van den Brink / Mer & Media / Orange

Voir la carte du tour du monde : Geronimo vs Orange

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