On the conveyor

Orange is finally into more stable winds as she roars across the Southern Ocean

Friday March 29th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Day 27

Data at 0800

Position 46deg 28S, 91deg 5E
Distance travelled in last 24 hours: 411.61nm
Average speed over last 24 hours: 17.15nm
Instant speed 25 knots.

31.2 knots, recorded on Orange at 1200 today sums up the story for Bruno Peyron and the crew of Orange - they're steaming.

Having slid further south the big cat has now found more stable winds and sea state and has finally got herself onto the Southern Ocean conveyor belt. She is currently sailing under staysail and double reefed main and at lunchtime was 930 miles from the latitude of Cape Leeuwin, the southwestern most point of Australia, which she is expected to pass on Sunday. The wind is currently 30/35 knots from the WSW and should hold for the next 48 hours.

Relief was evident in the voices of Peyron and on board meteorologist Gilles Chiorri during the chat session today. "We have a steady flow allowing us to speed", declared Peyron. "But above all it's going to continue tidying up the sea. It's going to do us all good, both the boys and the boat!".

Orange is still 300 miles north of the route of Olivier de Kersauson on his record passage, but Peyron doesn't think they will be able to move further south just yet. "We've a huge low to the south-east of our route and we risk encountering extremely heavy seas again So we did a bit of north-east in the night to slightly distance us from the centre of the low and now we're back on a due east route. Moreover, we know that for us the best winds are 30/35 knots and that's what we've got right now".

At present there is deep low of 940 at 60degS and French forecasters Météo Consult estimates this will be producing a swell of 7-8 metres south of 48°.

Earlier in the day Orange was forced to slow down while the crew changed a batten in the mainsail. "We made a fifteen minute pit stop to change a batten in the top of the main and we took advantage to repair the port mainsheet winch and check the gooseneck," confirmed Peyron.

Meanwhile the program of on board maintenance continues. "Thank goodness we're always checking" commented Gilles Chiorri. "This morning, Vlad (Dzalda Lyndis) checked the bolts that hold down the mainsheet track and they were almost all loose by half or even three quarters of a turn. It's incredible how everything can play over time with the sea and the damp. Right now I've got my head in the electronics. I'm whom one calls "sparks"! in the navy".

Orange 's crew replace the broken top batten

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