Mid morning today the maxi-catamaran Orange II will return to the Western longitude. 'That shows that we'll stop moving away and start closing in. It's a punctuation in the course' as Bruno PEYRON says, which in real terms means that from now on any degrees gained will bring the team closer to Ouessant and home.
Yesterday saw their entry into the Pacific and a passage of the International Date Line today achieved under favourable auspices, as Orange II
has tucked onto the Northern edge of a depression which may enable the maxi-catamaran to swallow up half the Pacific Ocean. It is likely to prove an interesting game as the team will have to try to hold onto the positive effects of the low pressure for as long as possible, a great luxury that the latest generation of maxi-multihulls can offer themselves. The depression comes at a point which will also give Orange II
the benefit of not having to dive too far South. It is a detail and a meteorological boost which takes on its full meaning when you know that a vast ice field lies to the SE of the catamaran. Whatever happens though, « the decision has been taken » as Bruno emphasises: Orange II
will cover more miles as it rounds to the North of the floating minefield and the visual watch will begin over the next few hours, the high-risk zone starting to the SE of Stewart Island.
Bruno PEYRON: 'We are currently setting a good pace and are positioned well in terms of latitude which means that we'll be able to benefit from a good angle to the wind and favourable seas. We made two small tacks yesterday to line ourselves up better and since then we have been on a single tack in a NW'ly airflow which is catching up with us. If we work well, we should be able to cover half the Pacific with it. This depression is moving faster than us but not at a constant speed, so it's going to be an interesting game.'
The ice field. 'We have clearly set ourselves a way-point and are ready to pay the price for passing above this zone. We're quite lucky as the forecast is helping us to pay as cheaply as possible. With regards organisation, we are going to set up the same visual watch as we did off the Marion and Kerguelen islands. The ultimate precaution is not to get close to the zone though, prepared to extend the course... The decision has been taken!'
The International Date Line. 'It's an important passage. It's a punctuation which reminds us that we have taken 25 days to get halfway round the course. We thought about it again this morning : Good Hope in 11 days, Leeuwin in 21 days and mid-course in 25 days, that speaks for itself somewhat! And at the midway mark we are stronger today than at the start with a boat and crew in perfect shape! I have even slept like a baby which is a sure sign that all is well aboard the boat and that the boat isn't suffering.'
Day at sea : 25th
Date : 18/02/2005
Time (GMT) : 04h00
Latitude : 49 41.64' S
Longitude : 161 10.44' E
Instantaneous speed : 26.1 kts
Instantaneous heading : 82
Average speed : 26.9 kts
Speed over 24 hr : 24.6 kts
Distance over 24hr : 591 nm
Speed since the start : 23.0 kts
Total distance : 13 676 nm
Distance remaining : 11 804.80 nm
Record distances :
- record Jules Verne : +2 026 nm (ahead)
- absolute record : +2 160 nm (ahead)