Following the discovery of damage around the sail drive area in one of the hulls of the giant catamaran, Bruno PEYRON (FRA) and the crew of Orange II have decided to return to France, abandoning their attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy.
Obviously disappointed, Peyron reported on their website today that they were in an impossible situation. If they managed to repair the damaged area, there was no guarantee that the repair would be as good as the original. An optimistic outlook was that it would reduce their round the world potential by 20-30 per cent.
Peyron commented. "We are going to go back, return to the base and sort out all the teething problems on the boat, then we'll have a look at the best weather conditions to leave again."
He continued with what such a problem meant to the team. "It's a disappointment [to the team] because like in all equipment based sports, one works to achieve the result and when the equipment breaks it's psychologically hard to live with. But that's the power of a team who know when to make decisions at the right moment and to put priorities in order"
Whilst obviously a huge blow to the entire team, Peyron is clearly philosophical about the situation and when they return to France they will set about planning the next window to leave. The only problem arises now, with the oncoming southern hemisphere winter, time is running out for another attempt in 2004.
More news will be published when it becomes available.