The sun and the temperature were also in festive mood, as was the public, who were able to watch this majestic entrance live on a giant screen. It was with cheers ringing out that the new holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, with the record time of 50 days, 16 hours, 20 minutes and 4 seconds, came alongside the harbour wall in the docks in Brest at 0930 hours GMT. Some clean shaven, others less so, or even bearded like Yann ELIÈS (FRA), one of the three watch leaders on board, all the faces were beaming with joy. It had been a short sleepless night, but they were holding out for the time being. They were all getting back with friends and family.
On the podium, where the crew gathered, there was an aura of magic. No one could resist the charm, with PEYRON in top form. With almost thirty years of adventure and racing on all the world's oceans behind him, with three Jules Verne Trophies under his belt, he found the right words to thank all those, who had made possible the performance that would go down in history.
PEYRON was particularly keen to give thanks to the people who built the foundations of his success: 'I really must thank the boat builders first of all, as they did more than 100,000 hours of work on Orange II. Thanks too to the preparation crew, who did a smashing job, and of course to the designers who gave birth to the boat.'
PEYRON and his crew were not the only ones celebrating success. For the architect and builder of Orange II, Gilles OLLIER, the record breaking voyage was the result of years of work and research.: 'From the lessons we learnt from the Club Med or Orange I generation, we knew what we had to do to go faster. That was the principal specification that was laid down for Orange II's skipper,' said OLLIER, who then went on to explain some of the reasons for the boat's incredible speed: 'A finer hull to stand up better in the wind, a small aft section so that she rode higher, sails that were manageable without a gennaker at the head, and a boat that was higher in the water to avoid the shock of the waves on the arms, which was a very important factor in slowing her down.'
Since beating the previous best round the world time set by Cheyenne by over seven days, congratulations have been flowing in for Orange II and her crew.
Skipper of Cheyenne on her record breaking voyage last year, Steve FOSSETT (USA), was keen to praise PEYRON despite losing his own record so quickly: 'Although I'm sad to see my own record smashed after just one year, I still feel great satisfaction to have been a part of the ever-changing history of round the world sailing. Your new record is likely to stand for a long time and you have certainly left your mark on sailing history by winning it [the Jules Verne Trophy - Ed] three times.'
In addition to FOSSETT, another man to suffer at the hands of Orange II was Olivier DE KERSAUSON (FRA), the previous holder of the Jules Verne Trophy and the chairman of the event. As well as congratulating Orange II DE KERSAUSON saw the maxi catamaran's success as a victory for sailing: 'The bar of fifty days is now not far off. This shows the huge progress that our sport accomplishes each year. No other racing sport can claim to have achieved such a degree of progress, as each new generation of boat pushes back the limits still further.'
Praise did not just come from within the sailing world either with messages of congratulations coming from the French Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre RAFFARIN and also from French President, Jacques CHIRAC. 'Twelve years after your first victory, you have just walked away with your third Jules Verne Trophy by setting a new outright crewed round the world record in less than 51 days,' said a message from the President. 'All those fans of sailing know just what this achievement means in terms of effort, concentration and collective determination… and I am pleased to be able to send you and your crewmen, my most heartfelt congratulations.'
The message of congratulation from ISAF President Göran Petersson, said, 'The entire team are an inspiration to sailors and non-sailors around the world. To break the Jules Verne Record twelve years after you first set the record is a superb achievement, demonstrating your total dedication to this sailing challenge, which ranks as one of the greatest sporting achievements available to man.'