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1 March 2005, 11:01 am
Stopping For Repairs Soon
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Orange II

Thirty six hours after the chance encounter with a sea creature, the maxi-catamaran Orange II is looking to benefit from a transition zone with light winds to work on the damaged rudder.
This zone lies just ahead between the current depression and the Saint Helena High, less than two days away. In the meantime Bruno PEYRON's (FRA) men are under orders to avoid reaching too great a speed so as to avoid working the rudder to its maximum. At around 600 miles South of Rio de Janeiro, Orange II's is streaking along with the wind on the aft quarter in her climb up the South Atlantic.

Conditions are rather favourable, even though the damaged port rudder is preventing the crew from exploiting the maxi-catamaran's full potential. PEYRON's lead of over eight days on Steve FOSSETT's (USA) outright record is enabling them to deal with this unfortunate damage intelligently.

The main focus of Orange II's skipper is to send down a diver under the hull to inspect the damaged rudder. According to Yann PENFORNIS, the boat's architect: 'the impact on the port rudder has provoked delamination across a 30cm area on the leading edge of the rudder. It is the outer carbon skin which is peeling away, so there is no major concern for the moment. The rudder is unlikely to split in two as it made from a single piece of carbon. However, the second carbon skin must not then begin to delaminate. As a result I am moderately optimistic'.

Several solutions are open to Orange's crew: Work directly on the rudder and carry out the lamination of the zone of impact, underwater. Or remove the rudder, lift it onboard, repair it and then put it back in place. PEYRON is more in favour of an underwater repair as he explained in yesterday's radio session.

'There's nothing we can do while the sea isn't calm. The zone of calms is forecast in two days [Wednesday -Ed]. We really hope the rudder will hold until then. We have noticed that the top skin has come away and that the fences have disappeared too. We cannot see if the second layer of fibre is coming away or not. Everyone is keeping a permanent eye on it. We have some resin that sets in the water so we can make repairs underwater. If we decide to dismantle it, we know how to do that too but to get it back together again it would need to be very, very calm. In the open sea, it is never very flat. If we could avoid this man-uvre, it would be much better. We have virtually gone round the world on starboard tack and in two days we will need the port rudder. As a result we are focusing our attention on an underwater solution as soon as we can bring the boat to a stand still.'

For the time being, the giant Orange II is continuing to rack up the miles with an average of 25 knots whilst sailing on port tack, thus putting the stress on the starboard daggerboard and rudder. The damaged rudder is not under any stress at present as a result.


Day at sea: 36th
Date : 01/03/2005
Time (GMT) : 04h00
Latitude : 32 49.40' S
Longitude : 44 08.04' W
Instantaneous speed: 27 kts
Instantaneous heading: 356
Speed over 24 hours: 23.1 kts
Distance over 24 hours: 555 nm
Speed since the start: 23.9 kts
Overall distance: 20519 nm
Distance remaining: 5434.30 nm

The records Orange II has to beat:

- The Jules Verne Trophy, held since 29 April 2004, by Olivier de KERSAUSON and the crew of the trimaran Geronimo, in 63d, 13h 59mn.
- The absolute round the world record held since 5 April 2004, by the American Steve FOSSETT, in 58d, 09h, 32mn.

Event Media (as amended by ISAF), Image: © Gilles MARTIN-RAGET
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