Full tilt

Orange putting on the miles as she approaches New Zealand

Thursday April 4th 2002, Author: John Greenland/Orange, Location: Transoceanic
Day 33 - 0800 4 April 2002

Orange position: 54deg 03S 161deg 08E
Distance covered in last 24 hours: 492.21nm (21.4knots average)

Compared to Sport Elec in 1997
Position: 49deg 15S 141deg 55E

Distance between the boats today - 771 nm
Down the track: currently Orange is 768.5 nm ahead

Dry suits and balaclavas on again, diving masks glued to faces, hands clinging onto the wheel or frozen to the sheets...

The Marseilles giant is surfing the liquid mountains of icy water of the Southern Ocean at more than 30 knots. As forecast the wind has progressively shifted to the NW and strengthened. On board they've just put a third reef in the main and the crew is battening down waiting for 50 knots of wind by the end of the night.

Orange is now positioned some 518 miles off the southern tip of New Zealand. The team has just left the islands of Judge and Clerk to starboard and are brushing up against 54° of latitude south, a short distance away from the Antarctic convergence zone.

"We're really hauling," exclaimed Bruno Peyron during the chat session today, which only lasted a few minutes the reception was so bad. "We have done some sprints of 36/37 knots in the surfs today and we're expecting quite a gale tonight because we're going to be crossing an active front. We have just taken in the third reef"" And while 40 knots are currently blowing across the little orange dot on the chart, the boys are expecting 50 in the hours to come.

While the night looks like being tough, the maxi-catamaran Orange is making the most of it to get ahead, devouring around 500 miles per day at an average of more than 20 knots. At this pace the giant catamaran, which is 280 miles further south than Olivier de Kersauson's position at the same longitude, should be rounding cape Horn in 8 or 10 days time. At this point it will become clear how far ahead or behind the team are over the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, Sport Elec.

See page two for Nick Moloney's on board account...

Driving hard through punishing conditions...

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