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17 February 2005, 11:45 am
Attacking the Pacific!
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Orange II

Early this morning the longitude of 146°49 East will be behind them and Orange II will be officially entering the Pacific Ocean. So it's farewell to the Indian with all the complications it added to their intended course, causing them to zigzag across, and now it's hello to the Pacific with what should be a neater swell and a steadier course.

Will the maxi-catamaran be able to step up the speed as they hope? First of all, they are going to have to get around the ice zone, which was spotted by the competitors in the Vendée Globe more than a month ago, and get into a suitable latitude. Whatever lies ahead, already during the night, the seas were more co-operative and Orange II was able to hoist some more canvas and accelerate away again. They will be passing the south of New Zealand in a few hours, the halfway point has been passed, the entry into the world's largest ocean is imminent, and the International Date line is for tomorrow with a return to degrees of longitude west. Bruno Peyron, Orange II's skipper, was rather surprised to note that half of the journey was behind them in just 24 days and they could already start talking about making their way home. Incredible!

Bruno PEYRON: 'The conditions for sailing are better. We gybed and are sailing in the right direction to the waves. We sent up a bit more canvas, and can return to some normal sailing. In general, the swell is longer in the Pacific, even if sometimes you can get carried along. We reached 85 knots in 93. However, normally, there is a greater amplitude, more fetch and a better frequency to the swell. You'll be able to see on the mileage that it's certainly very different. Our course in the Pacific wasn't that great. Yesterday, we covered 580 miles, but only 480 miles on a straight line to home, so in other words the route was 25% longer.»

Halfway through the voyage. 'From tomorrow, we'll be nearing home. It's amazing to tell yourself that. Thinking we've been halfway around the world in 24 days. I certainly wasn't expecting that. The boat is in good condition, as are the men, so for the moment, it's looking very good!'

Wet. 'We're soaked, soaked, soaked! We removed the engine from the starboard hull to fit it in the port hull to offer us some warmth and dry it out a little. While the men get used to everything, that's not true for the electronics and the video equipment. It was Bernard (Stamm), who took care of that.'

DATA:
Day at sea: 24
Date : 17/02/2005
Time (GMT) : 04h00
Latitude : 51 17.20' S
Longitude : 146 07.32' E
Recorded speed: 26 knots
Recorded bearing: 72
Average speed: 26.9 knots
Speed over 24h : 21.9 knots
Distance over 24h : 525 nm
Speed since the start: 22.9 knots
Total distance: 13 084 nm
Remaining distance: 12 318.10 nm
Lead on day 23 :
- Jules Verne record: +2 064 nm (ahead)
- absolute record: +2 084 nm (ahead)

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