Orange in a spin

Controversy about position reports

Wednesday March 27th 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: Transoceanic
Positions at 0800GMT
Day 2513 Lat Long Distance over last 24 hrs Distance sailed since start Speed last 24 hrs Instant speed
Orange 43°13 S 69°50 E 321.41 m 10,473.12m 13.39 kn 26.2 kn
Sport Elec 51°04 S 54°09 E 453.00m 8538m 18.86 kn

In an extraordinary outburst, the Board of the 'Association Round The World in 80 Days' has issued a press statement roundly condemning the way in which Orange have been presenting their record attempt to the public. The statement is all the more bizarre as it is signed by no less than the president of the Association himself, one Olivier de Kersauson.

In addition to his responsibilities as President of the Association Round The World in 80 Days, de Kersauson (pictured) is also a recent and most probably future competitor in the event. de Kersauson is upset by the fact that Orange have chosen the way in which they are telling the story of their attempt on the Jules Verne record to present it in the best possible light. Spin it seems is not confined to the corridors of power.

Orange is well ahead of the position attained at a similar point in the campaign by Sport-Elec in 1997 and it is this boat that they are comparing their performance with. Enza on the other hand had a fast start to their record attempt and a rather slower finish and were well ahead of Orange's position at this stage of the circumnavigation.

de Kersauson writes, "To his deepest regret, the Board of the Jules Verne Trophy is put in a situation to publish a correction about the wrong analysis made actually by the Orange Society, the Bruno Peyron's main partner for his round the world, non-stop record attempt. The Jules Verne Trophy is a high level sporting event in which the calculations and the declarations delivered by the sponsors must stay coherent and close of the maritime reality."

"Now, for more than 25 days, the information published by the Orange web site are presenting a flattering position for the boat flying its flag. But alas, quite far from the reality. Today, the Orange position on the Jules Verne Trophy track - of which Bruno Peyron and the late Sir Peter Blake have been the first winners , is still behind the Enza position from 1994 and approximately 600 miles ahead of the Sport-Elec position in 1997. And this, after 25 days at sea.

de Kersauson goes on to point out that ultimately all Jules Verne record attempts are judged to succeed or fail by the time they finish and not by their speed or position at any point on the course.

Though it would be easy to see the statement as the frustrated ramblings of a man kept ashore by technical problems while his rivals attracted all the glory, one senses that de Kersauson is speaking in the interests of the sport and a trophy he holds so dear to his heart.

Out on the water, Bruno Peyron reports that conditions have returned to the power reaching more normally associated with Southern Ocean sailing. "What we are sure about is that she isn't a boat to beating to windward in and it's good to be back in reaching winds, more normal for a round-the-world catamaran" declared Peyron, who sounded relieved to be out of the complex low pressure system that has seen his boat beating to windward for several days.

"We have got back to normal life on board because we can now concentrate on sail trim, helm control and tactics," says Peyron. "We hadn't forgotten about it before, but you have to admit that the weather situation was not very favourable."

Today Orange is getting her mile chomping appetite back as the hours go by, now averaging 26 knots. At 1300 today she was less than 2000 miles from Cape Leeuwin (the south-west tip of Australia), the next of the world's great capes to be left to port.


More sail changing for the Orange crew

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