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13 March 2005, 08:22 am
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Orange II

Since Friday lunchtime GMT, Bruno PEYRON'S maxi cat Orange II has been heading northwards averaging 20 knots. On the western edge of the high, the southerly wind has strengthened and the maxi catamaran has been able to put on some more speed again.
To achieve this, Peyron and crew are having to carry out a series of gybes to head due north, rounding the wind hole in the centre as best they can, before catching the low-pressure system that will take them back to France.

Peyron and his navigator Roger NILSON now have a clear picture in their minds of what is likely to happen between now and next Tuesday, which looks increasingly likely to be the date, when they cross the finishing line off Ushant.

Should they finish before 11.00 hours GMT on Tuesday15 March, their time will be 49 days and XX hours.

Any later and they will be into their fiftieth day. A fabulous performance. That is why Peyron and his dream team don't want to count their chickens just yet. In high performance sports, it's not over until the finishing line is crossed.

From Bruno PEYRON, this morning at 10.00 GMT:
'Since this morning, we have been using the tail end of a front to sail on the starboard tack towards home.

'We currently have 1240 square metres of canvas up: main gennaker, staysail, and it's not possible to put up any more. We're reaching 30-31 knots in a 17-knot wind, which feels good.

'We're making the most of a 60-mile wide strip, where it is overcast and raining. We can see though, that the blue skies aren't far off.

'Within the next six or seven hours, we'll be moving out of this narrow strip and gybing again, heading northwards. A third ridge of high pressure will be passing over during the night and tomorrow morning, so there will be another calm zone to get through.

'In fact, it's the Azores high that is building again and we're right in the middle of this zone. However, we're where we need to be and by tomorrow afternoon we should be hopping on to a nice low, which will take us all the way to the finish.

'What's really impressive is that the boat is in perfect nick. Apart from the damage to the rudder, there's not the slightest hitch in the sails or problem with the fittings.

'The boat can set off on another voyage again and the men too! We're in fine fettle, not the hint of a health problem.

'However, that is not going to change the way we sail. It's always near home that you have an accident, when you're in a car. So there's no way we're going to drop our guard now. Now is not the time to make any mistakes.'
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image: ©Gilles Martin-Raget,
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