The maxi-catamaran Orange cast off from the yard in La Ciotat on Saturday 29th December and has since been undergoing her first sea trials.
The preparation phase onshore is now complete and was carried out thanks to the work and complicity of a team of twenty people assembled around Alain Gabbay and under the responsibility of Gilles Chiorri (Boat Captain) and Herve Jan, who returned from Sydney especially to take part in Bruno Peyron's new campaign round the world. The boat could be ready to start the Jules Verne Trophy as early as February 7th next. Down Marseilles way the pressure is rising and the public is already rising to the event in anticipation of the duel that could be be fought out by the giant from Marseilles and the giant from Brittany.
First trials conclusive!
The boat could be ready in two weeks…
The first sailing of the boat enabled a certain number of technical and human objectives to be taken care of. It was of course a question of systematically checking all the boat's vital elements (rigging, sails, fittings, electronics, but it was also an occasion to train and test the crew currently being selected.
The boat's first outing took place very progressively. The wind was blowing at 20-25 knots in La Ciotat roadstead when Orange, with two reefs in the main and staysail took to sea, inaugurating her new colours. `Each sail change was followed by a general check-up' explained Bruno Peyron, `We have been managing the boat's rise in pressure slowly and progressively so that we can observe her slightest reactions. We shook out a reef, then at day's end we tried the new solent, which allowed us to approach 30 knots on the clock already, without forcing. The boat is globally ahead of the schedule we fixed ourselves. The work of the technical teams has been remarkable. No unpleasant surprises to report after the check-ups. The boat could start in two weeks time if needs be!'.
However the rest of Orange's programme remains unchanged. The coming weeks will enable crew training and selection to be pursued. Time and weather permitting, Bruno Peyron and his men might try a small speed record to Corsica, just to test the new sails. But whatever happens, the boat should be ready to leave Marseilles around January 22nd with complete crew and stores.