The new maxi-catamaran ORANGE built for the next attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy record by Bruno PEYRON (FRA) and his crew touched water for the first time on Monday 22nd December 2003 at 17h00.
The launch and the stepping of the mast took place in Vannes, in front of the Multiplast shipyard, where the boat was built. This was the first time members of the public were able to see the "outsize" dimensions and design of this new giant, sporting the colours of her sponsor, Orange. Bruno PEYRON announced that the boat will be starting her campaign of trials in the very beginning of January in to be on stand-by for mid-February 2004. Orange will be sailed by a crew of 14.
Not far off 38 m long, 50 metres high, a beam of 17 m and a downwind sail area of close on 1000 m2. The dimensions of this new catamaran left the spectators wide-eyed as they gazed at the new boat from the banks of the canal. Bruno PEYRON : "This boat is the 7th "giant" of the maxi-multihull generation, but we did not want her to be the biggest of all at any cost. She is a little bigger than her predecessors but a little shorter than Cheyenne, Steve FOSSETT'S maxi-catamaran. Together with the Gilles Ollier Design Team which designed her, we concentrated on the boat's versatility, to enable us to push a little harder, particularly in the tough cross seas of the Southern Ocean. We'll be setting out this winter to try an improve upon the current record time on the Jules Verne Trophy route, a record which we currently hold, but which our competitors may well have bettered by then. It is our genuine wish that this battle between Geronimo and Cheyenne be worthy of the event represented by the Jules Verne Trophy. There'll be a crew of 14 on board, 3 watches of 4, with the skipper and navigator being off watch. We'll be revealing the crew list at the boat's naming ceremony in January".
Before the launch, Matthieu BELLOIR, External Communications Director for Orange France set out the overriding objectives and values upon the signature of this new partnership: "Orange is making a commitment to Bruno PEYRON for the second time in a row. For us, both the boat and the new adventure around the world symbolise technological mastery and performance. We share in the strong values adhered to by Bruno and his crew : a conquering spirit, innovation, respect for the environment. This new circumnavigation will also be the occasion for the France Télécom Group to enhance its savoir-faire and emphasise its overall offer in terms of technology and communication services, particularly the latest Inmarsat fleet service".
Dimensions of the maxi-catamaran Orange:
LOA : 37.80 m
LWL : 36.80 m
Beam : 18 m
Boom length : 17 m
Air clearance : 48 m
Mast height : 45 m
Downwind sail area : 1 000 m2
Upwind sail area : 700 m2