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1 February 2005, 09:12 am
Crossed the Equator After Seven Days of Sailing
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Orange II

The maxi-catamaran Orange II crossed latitude 0° around 1 o'clock GMT on Monday 31 January 2005 after 7 days and 3 hours of sailing from the start off Ushant. In spite of very different weather conditions from those that were forecast, the giant Orange II covered the 3500 miles at an average speed of 20.1 knots.
On the radio link-up the skipper of Orange II looked back over the first week.

Bruno PEYRON: 'We crossed the Equator a quarter of an hour ago. We still have very light winds and are only making 10-12 knots, but we have checked on the satellite photos that we are in the right place. Since the Canaries, we have had very light winds. We can see that from the averages, but the good news is that the boat sails quickly in little wind. We shall be coming out of the Doldrums around 1°South and we should then start to pick up speed. In the next few hours, the south easterly trade will be appearing and we should be sailing upwind in a steady twenty knots. Afterwards, we shall be heading due south for two days and trying to pick up the system that is around 20-25°S, and then head off to the left.

A look back at the first week
'The weather was a bit awkward and not really what we were expecting. Looking back, we clearly made one or two little errors. We could have avoided the calm zone off Cape Verde by heading south after the Canaries. As far as the boat is concerned, it's absolutely fabulous. The boat was well prepared and we haven't had any problems with her. Concerning the team, they've given their all. On board there is the spirit we were expecting and it's just great. We are arriving at the Equator with a boat that is balanced and well run in. We're not asking ourselves too many questions about what has to be done and when to do it. There are points to check during each watch. When it is a little calmer, we check the 50-metre high mast. We check the halyard rubbing points. It's all going very smoothly and we're enjoying it, which is vital for this type of journey.'

First little shock…
'Apart from a few suicidal flying fish, we hit our second UFO yesterday. We didn't dive, as there was no damage. On my previous boats, we hit whales. In the old Explorer, I never hit anything. I think some boats make more noise than others. I like whales, but prefer to see them in pictures or several miles away.'

Happy Birthday
One of the watch leaders, Yann ELIES, was 31 yesterday: 'It was nice, because my present was crossing the Equator and it's great to be at sea. I got an e-mail from my family to tell me they were going to be celebrating. I feel that the Orange II team is in top form. The boat is giving 100% all the time. The osmosis between the fourteen men is incredible, the boat's performance astounding and the speed impressive. Apart from that, we're amazed by the finish of the Vendée Globe. Bruno said we'll be there next time. We shall see.'

Orange Media (As Amended by ISAF), Image: © Gilles Martin-Raget
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