Nick Moloney diary

In the first of his regular reports Offshore Challenge's new signing talks of life on the maxi cat Orange
Have you ever begun a regatta or set off on a voyage with thoughts like 'here we go again' - mixed emotions.....'What will it be? Will we win? Are we prepared for any conditions? Will we reach our destination?' Well I have just spent my second Christmas in a row, preparing a big cat for a blast around the planet, non-stop, flat out. But this time it's a little different, the lure of a trophy that I regard as the premier sailing speed record, the Jules Verne Trophy. The rules are simple, start from a line between Ushant and the Lizard in the English Channel, then circumnavigate the globe by the two Capes as fast as you can on the sailing boat of your choice. I have found myself in a very fortunate situation: 22/01/02,.....040:09.2213N....001:15.8057E boat: Orange (former Code 1 or Innovation Explorer) skipper Bruno Peyron, crew 11 other French and 1 Australian. Boat speed: 15knots, true wind speed 19knots, true wind angle 55deg, route Marseilles-Brest. Last night was our first night at sea as a team. The experience was a taste of things to come. As the sun fell the wind increased. 25 knots upwind gradually built to 30+, often the dial pinned on 40, often flicking to 45. As we dropped the staysail and lowered the main halyard to the third reef position it quickly became difficult to even stand up. Where does this Mediterranean seaway come from? Within an hour steep tall waves made working and moving around the boat more and more difficult. We became tumble weed, bouncing around on the tramp, trying to perfome simple tasks that were now strenuous and dangerous. I recall one unknown dark figure fall into a one handed hand stand as his fingers gripped the net and the