Aiming for a mouse hole

Dodgy weather forecasts are making Orange's Atlantic choices pretty tricky

Monday April 15th 2002, Author: Andy Rice, Location: Transoceanic
Day 44 - 0800 GMT, 15 April 2002

Orange position: 47deg 22W, 48deg 20S
Distance covered in last 24 hours: 503.23nm (20.97 knots average)

Compared to Sport Elec record in 1997
Position: 56deg 49S, 98deg 33W

Down the track: currently Orange is 1894nm ahead of Sport Elec

Orange is getting further ahead of record pace, but the crew knows that things are just about to get tough as they try to pick their way through the complex and fickle weather systems of the Atlantic.

"We have three possibilities," said skipper Bruno Peyron on the official Orange website. "We can sail along the American coast, which would be a complex pattern implying tricky winds. We may take the direct route and tackle a low generating 60 knots + winds. Finally, we can take a right-hand option, pass that low, a sail around a small high pressure system located on the low's right side, and about to slide towards the east."

With weather forecasts differing quite markedly between European and American models, it is not clear how rapidly the systems are moving. Peyron commented: "We're aiming at a mouse's hole. If we don't make it, it's going to be tough. If we manage to pass, it will be a very nice shot. But meanwhile, it's a race against the clock."

The gang of 13 have also rearranged their watch system from three watches to four (of three men), with swaps every two hours. Peyron explained: "We're trying to modify the our way of working in order to be more reactive during the manoeuvre phase. We'll see the results in two or three days."

See page two for Nick Moloney's on board diary

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