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4 March 2005, 09:54 am
Big Lead Set To Decrease
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Orange II

Since the maxi-catamaran's complete check-up in the calms yesterday morning, the wind has been stalling its reappearance.
The lead now held by Bruno PEYRON (FRA) and his men over the outright record has continued to increase since the start, peaking yesterday at ten days on the 38th day of racing.

The current light conditions and the present record holder Cheyenne's great speed over the latter part of the course, make it likely that the lead will be reduced to some extent in the coming days. That doesn't shake the motivation of Orange II's crew though, who are exploiting the maxi-catamaran's potential to the fullest and trying to retain as much of their lead as possible until they get to Ouessant.

Orange II is sailing at a reduced pace of 12-15 knots and is attempting to climb due north along the Brazilian coastline. It is likely to make the latitude of Salvador de Bahia this evening, and a crossing of the equator on Sunday morning is still on the cards.

This morning at 0400 GMT PEYRON reported: 'There is still not much wind, barely eight knots. We're not worried about it though, the wind will kick back in progressively. We are upwind under full mainsail and alternating between the code zero and the solent up forward. As we have closed in on the coast, we've passed a few boats, but they were too far away to know if they were Brazilian fishermen.'

'With this heat, we try to sleep on deck rather than down below. I think we reached our maximum lead yesterday of over ten days. Right now we have light winds and a low speed. We also stopped the boat yesterday, so in principle, our lead is not set to increase, especially as the North Atlantic doesn't look simple.'

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image:© JB Epron
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