ENZA record remains

Orange stalled before Equator

Saturday March 9th 2002, Author: Orange, Location: Transoceanic
Positions this morning at 0800
1°58 N 23°54 W 400,32 miles 3 254,40 miles 16,68 knots 12,2 knots nc
17°47 N 20°44 W 428,40 miles 2 158 miles 17,85 knots nc nc

Like Olivier de Kersauson's trimaran Geronimo just 10 days ago, Bruno Peyron's maxi-catamaran has also fallen at the final hurdle in trying to break ENZA New Zealand's record for the Jules Verne Trophy start line to the Equator.

A week into their trip they were slowed some 80 miles from 0degS and they have left the Trade Winds and Doldrums. They are due to cross the Equator tonight. At lunchtime today when the giant cat had to cross the Equator to claim the record they were still some way off. "I'd like to pay a tribute to the great Peter Blake [skipper of ENZA with Robin Knox-Johnston] whose name will remain carved in history," reported boat captain and meteorologist Gilles Chiorri. "There's still 89 miles to go before reach the Equator. We'll probably cross the line during the night, but the Doldrums is a very volatile area. It's difficult to be accurate when talking about weather related mattered here. The situation can evolve in a few hours."

At the time Orange was making slow progress in 3-4 knot winds. "We're spending a lot of time comparing weather information," continued Chiorri. "An interesting situation lies ahead. After the equator, we'll be aiming for an exit from the South Atlantic between 27 and 30 degrees latitude south. Then we'll have to change the boat's course to the east to enter the Southern Ocean. Of course, we shall have to be careful to negotiate things well today to cross the equator this evening and pick up the south-east trade winds. "

For the crew the rule of thumb remains unchanged - concentration, anticipation, vigilance towards both men and machine, in an atmosphere of good humour and enthusiasm. Yesterday, a fluctuating NNE flow meant that Orange had to use of all eight of her sails in 39 changes.

As they are slowed, the time is put to good use to check over the hulls following a week of racing. Crewman Vladimir Dzalda Lyndis was landed this job and spent one hour diving in the 29degC water to inspect the hulls, daggerboards and rudders. The only reported problem was that the two weed cutter blades positioned in front of each rudder have disappeared.

The final word comes from Hervé Jan: " We're going to remain slowed throughout today until early evening. We're waiting for the wind to pick up. It should come in from the port side. The South Atlantic is looking pretty complicated, with the South Atlantic High lying very low and wide. There's an excellent atmosphere on board with lots of communication between the various watches. I'm trying to bring my experience and knowledge of the 'ranges' of use of our sails to bear, but decisions on board are collegial, and have to be approved by Bruno... "

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