'There's no wind, the timing is just perfect,' enthused PEYRON. 'The boat is in great shape, except for a minor dent in the port bow crash-box, and of course the damaged first layer on the port rudder blade.'
Along with Nicolas DE CASTRO (SUI), the skipper dove to assess the damage. 'We went closer to have a good look. We sawed off the fences, since the front part was torn off. The 90°-oriented carbon layers [ the rudder blades are layered with thin carbon skins, 90 or 45°-oriented, and stacked - the 90° layer is the external one, which was damaged in the collision] are gone, but the 45° layers look strong. As planned, when the crew rounded Cape Horn, PEYRON took advantage of the pit-stop to examine the whole boat. 'We checked the mast, the mainsail traveller, and changed the bearings of the headboard traveller. Meanwhile, the mainsail and the Solent jib were down'.
The maxi-catamaran has only been stopped for two hours for inspection purposes. She will now sail on towards the Equator, with Ushant and Cheyenne's reference time as final objectives.
At 1000 GMT, Orange II was located roughly 60 miles ahead of Steve FOSSETT's (USA) day 48 position, which gives the French maxi-cat a 10-day lead, when at the same time last year Cheyenne still had 10 and a half days to reach Ushant.
However Orange II should pick up speed rather slowly now. PEYRON confirms that the wind will increase, but gradually. 'The wind is weak, and even did a 360° rotation. It will shift from the WNW to the N, then to the NE and finally to the E. We should be a bit slow for the coming hours... Our ETA for the Equator keeps on changing, but we should be there Sunday, sometime between midnight and noon'.
In order to beat FOSSETT's record (established on 5 April 2004) of 58 days, 9 hours and 32 minutes Orange II has to cross the line before 19:34:52 GMT on 23 March..
Day at sea: 38
Latitude: 17 40.76 S
Longitude: 34 24.52 W
Speed over 24 hours: 16.7 knots
Distance over 24 hours: 402 nm
Speed since the start: 23.7 knots
Distance covered: 21630 nm
Remaining distance: 4429.50 nm
Lead on day 38
- Jules Verne record: +3979 (ahead)
- Absolute RTW record: +3285 (ahead)
Despite what had been announced here and on the Orange II website yesterday, Orange II did not collide with a second whale. It only happened once, Sunday evening. The boat could not be reached by phone yesterday, and there has been a misinterpretation of a message sent by Yann ELIÈS (FRA), who evoked the only incident, which had taken place two days before. Please accept our apologies.