Despite being on course to break the Round Britain Record, the maxi cat Orange was today becalmed on the finish line and failed in her attempt.
One of the world's classic sailing records slipped away from the crew of Orange early this morning, as they found themselves becalmed 3 miles from the finish line off the Isle of Wight. The maxi-catamaran Orange, co-skippered by Bruno Peyron (France) and Neal McDonald (UK) crossed the finish line of their Round Britain and Ireland record attempt this morning at 0728, a little more than one hour short of the world record time set by Steve Fossett (5d 21h 5m) in 1994.
Bruno Peyron said,
"What a funny experience this Round Britain and Ireland record attempt has been. There were just a few miles left to go this morning and we were still ahead of the record averaging a speed of just 5 knots and then in the last few miles we were stuck in an unforgettable dead calm and there was nothing we could do about it. That's the way the cookie crumbles. The clock decides and we've got no choice but to accept it. But we'll be back! We felt more like we were taking part in a race than on a speed record attempt, because we had left without waiting for the best conditions. The Round Britain and Ireland Record is an amazing and somewhat difficult course, with some tricky and highly tactical bits to it. We've got a great team and I don't think we made many mistakes. We set out in what was supposed to be the quickest way round in view of the weather information we had and the analysis of Roger Nilson on board and Roger 'Clouds' Badham on terra firma in Australia. We gave it 100 % throughout, never taking our foot off the gas, except after the Shetland Islands, where the sea was very rough."
"Of course we are very disappointed to have missed the record by so little, but we have come up smiling anyway as we've had a great 5 days together."
When asked about his plans for the future Bruno said,
"The most important thing for me is to continue our public awareness campaign to keep the public informed about big boats and racing. Everyone's been really enthusiastic and the suspense was intense. Very encouraging all round with the perspective of The Race 2004 ahead and the Giant multihull circuit which we are in the process of organising for the coming years. "
"What now ? I am staying in England for a few more days, then Orange will be heading back to the Mediterranean to continue her programme of record attempts, which include the Marseilles to Carthage and Round Corsica records.
Key Facts Of Record Attempt
Monday August 12th At 0914 And 13 Seconds
ORANGE crossed a line south of Ventnor and began clockwise circumnavigation of Britain and Ireland.
Tuesday August 13th
Passed Scilly Isles in early morning heading for west
coast of Ireland, 3 hours ahead of record time.
Wednesday August 14th
Sailing north off Ireland's west coast in light
winds, ORANGE falls of the record breaking pace, but gales were forecast and
the team were confident that they could reel in the miles. The forecast was
correct and ORANGE was hit by a Force 8 gale with waves hitting the crew with such force that simply looking ahead to steer was hard. As the seas built, sleep was virtually impossible and the movement was so dramatic on board that the off watch crew slept with their legs facing forwards, so that when the catamaran slammed into the biggest waves their legs acted as shock absorbers as they were flung into the bulkheads.
Thursday August 15th
Rounded Shetland Islands in the early morning, the
gales had boosted the chances of the record breaking attempt. ORANGE was now 12 hours ahead of the record. This margin was eroded during the day as
ORANGE was pounded by heavy seas and headwinds.
Friday August 16th
ORANGE in the North Sea sailing far off the British
coast and heading south in generally light winds. Still ahead of record time by up to six hours but the weather was not in their favour. Forecast of headwinds and light winds due on Saturday.
Saturday August 17th
Good early morning south easterly winds. ORANGE sailed through the Straits of Dover in the early afternoon.
Sunday August 18th
ORANGE gets becalmed 2 miles off the finish line and fails to beat the record.