The Orange II maxi-catamaran and the twelve-man crew are continuing their fast descent of the South Atlantic this morning averaging 20 knots. The boat has however been slowed a little since early in the night because of a large swell, which is stopping them from going on the attack.
Bruno PEYRON prefers to ease off a little to take care of the equipment. The giant is making good average speeds on a trajectory increasingly moving towards the east to shorten the route. Today is likely to be a bit slower than planned but the skipper of Orange II remained confident this morning about the possibility of reaching the wind change allowing him to swing around to the east towards the Cape of Good Hope.
: 'We're still heading down towards the south at around 20 knots, but have been forced to slow down a little because of tricky seas. We weren't able to hoist the solent, as it's a sail that is too powerful in these conditions. Imagine a 30 tonne monster falling into a trough several metres deep. It's a bit difficult and unpleasant to be sailing like this. We're under the staysail, in other words a little under what you might expect in 20-knot winds. We decided to look after the equipment in these conditions, and not to go on the attack today. We'll be looking for a compromise between our bearing and our speed. Apart from that everything is fine on board. The boat is behaving well in spite of these heavy seas. Yann ELIES' watch came off just now and handed over to Lionel LEMONCHOIS. The good news is that today we should start easing around to the east and shortening the route. Tomorrow we shall be accelerating again in a more favourable wind with the swell easing off. So we're putting up with things today to be able to attack more tomorrow...'
Yesterday afternoon, averaging 22 knots, the maxi catamaran was benefiting from south easterly trade winds for the moment. 'We're sailing against the sea and the wind'
explained Bruno PEYRON. 'We're beating upwind at 25 knots. We're pushing her on. We're sailing in typical trade wind seas. The weather is very fine, but Orange II is a fairly heavy boat with two hulls, and finds it difficult to head into the waves, even if she does better than the previous generation. So we're wondering whether we shouldn't come around to 180° to pick up some speed, while putting less strain on the boat.'
The team are drawing near to the tricky area, where the wind will come around astern and drop off, before a stronger new system from Argentina takes over. This looks like being a very tricky situation for the boat's strategists. 'We're on a very fine line trying to find the way through this narrow corridor to the south,' Bruno added. 'We're trying to keep up a fairly high average speed to give us a small margin to reach this link to the south. It's a bit of a gamble, as there are no other ways through to the west. If we indeed make it, the gain will be huge: if we manage to do it, we'll be 600 to 800 miles ahead.'
A lot is therefore at stake. If they succeed, Orange II could well gain an advantage of one or two days over the absolute round the world record, before they reach the deep south.
Day at sea: 10
Date : 03/02/2005
Time (GMT) : 04h32
Latitude : 21 08.08' S
Longitude : 28 13.80' W
Recorded speed: 16.3 knots
Recorded bearing: 174°
Average speed: 18.9 knots
Speed over 24 h: 21.5 knots
Distance over 24h : 517 miles
Speed since the start: 20.3 knots
Total distance: 4753 miles
Remaining distance: 20149.80 miles