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29 January 2005, 06:18 pm
Ciao to Cape Verde
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Orange II

After five days at sea, Orange II has reached the Cape Verde Islands. Less than a year ago, on 3 March 2004, the catamaran turned around and headed for home at this latitude, during her first attempt at the round the world record. She left her two rivals, Cheyenne and Geronimo finish their voyage without her.
On Saturday at lunchtime, the fourteen-man crew is aiming towards the Southern Hemisphere. Orange II is sailing towards the equator at around 15 knots, and bringing the average to more than 20 knots since the start off Ushant. After Cape Finisterre in Spain , Cape St Vincent in Portugal, the Canaries, now they are off the Cape Verde Islands. This is the second little group of islands in their path around the world and the catamarn cout through its north west quarter.

'We passed the first of the Cape Verde Islands, while it was still dark, ' said Jacques CARAES this lunchtime. 'The sun was about to get up. We sailed by an island that wasn't that high without stopping' The boat left the islands of Santo Antao and Sao Vicente on the starboard side and Santa Luzia to the port side. 'Since then, the wind has strenthened, which has allowed us to put on some more speed. We're sailing under sail with the mainsail, main gennaker and medium staysail. We're now getting into place to get on a route taking us down to the Equator.'

The route towards the southern Hemisphere looks a lot clearer. That wasn't the case yesterday, when they only managed 350 miles. A thundery system stopped Orange II from showing her real capabilities for a short while. 'Yesterday, we stayed for around twenty hours in a wind pattern that did not correspond to what we were hoping for. We were slowed down considerably for quite a while. Now that we're out of that system, we'll be picking up some better winds. The trade winds are not very well fed, since the wind isn't getting above 25 knots. However, we should be able to make the most of it to stay on the port tack for quite some time enabling us to reach the Equator on that tack.

Between the Cape Verde and the Equator, Roger NILSON, the boat's navigator, must find a way through another obstacle: a thundery area, where there are thunderstorms and then calm zones. With Bruno PEYRON, the Swede has drawn up a tactic to avoid the phenomenon that is common for round the world yachtsmen:

'Roger NILSON's idea involves gettng around the Doldrums at 25-27 West' added Jacques 'He is studying the satellite photos and while the Doldrums didn't look very active, things can change very quickly.'

Christophe Guigueno
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