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24 February 2005, 10:07 am
Heading Down Towards Cape Horn
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Orange II

The Orange II maxi catamaran is continuing to race across the South Pacific towards the Horn, which she should be rounding late on Friday. Since yesterday, Bruno PEYRON and his men have chosen a route further north to avoid the heavy seas in the south and the extremely wet conditions.
It is, of course, a longer route, but the extra speed the boat can achieve largely compensates for that. In fact, at 04:30 GMT this morning, Orange II was recorded doing 34.2 knots of instantaneous speed, and she has still been averaging 24 knots over the past 24 hours (covering 575 miles). The crew was planning to gybe at daybreak to get back on a more direct course towards Cape Horn, but they will have to tack to round the Horn tomorrow. The wind got up again this morning, forcing the crew to take in a second reef in the mainsail.

The conditions as they round the Horn are forecast to be not as tough as those announced yesterday (even if 35-knot winds are expected). It is after the Horn that things get trickier with several low-pressure areas forecast with 70-knot winds off the Falklands. Bruno PEYRON will be trying to step up the pace to round the Horn as early as possible. He will then try to make his way up close to the coast, to avoid the worst of the low and take advantage of the strong winds, which should allow them to climb back up the South Atlantic at high speed.

Bruno PEYRON: 'It's going to be a question of timing it right. If we round the Horn quickly, we may be able to get away by passing to the left of the Falklands. We may even stay alongside the coast passing inside the Lemaire Straits to avoid a battering off the Falklands. If we manage to do this, we should be getting good conditions to start the climb back up, and the three days following the Horn could be quite fast.'

The Pacific record within reach.
Rounding the Horn tomorrow should allow Bruno PRYRON to grab two new records in the South Pacific. Orange II is likely to beat the record set by Orange I in 2002 for the stretch from Cape Leeuwin (Australia) - Cape Horn. They are also likely to smash the official South Pacific record (validated by the WSSRC) and held since last winter by the American Steve FOSSETT, for the journey between the south of Tasmania (the entry into the Pacific) and Cape Horn (entry into the Atlantic).

Bruno PEYRON: 'It will of course be a great satisfaction to set a new record time for the Pacific crossing. We went fairly quickly thanks to the men, the machine and favourable weather conditions all coming together. Our strategy of alternating periods of attack and periods of consolidation is the right one and is paying off. This boat clearly has a potential way beyond what we could have imagined. We are now able to control her power and we have found out that we can push her even further than we thought.'

Data:
Day at sea: 31st
Date: 24/02/2005
Time (GMT): 05h40
Latitude: 53 26.76' S
Longitude: 94 45.68' W
Instantaneous speed: 25.3 knots
Instantaneous bearing: 79
Average speed: 24.8 knots
Speed over 24h: 24 knots
Distance over 24h: 576 nm
Speed since the start: 23.7 knots
Total distance: 17550 nm
Remaining distance: 8078.60 nm

Orange II Media (As Amended by ISAF), Image: © JB Epron
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