38.6 knots into yesterday

Orange pulls out the miles over their virtual competitor

Friday April 5th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Day 34 - 0804 5 April 2002

Orange position: 53deg 09S 175deg 17E
Distance covered in last 24 hours: 501.81nm (20.9knots average)

Compared to Sport Elec in 1997
Position: 49deg 31S 155deg 06E

Distance between the boats today - 771 nm
Down the track: currently Orange is 787 nm ahead

Orange have today passed through the International Date Line and gone back a day in time in the process. For the crew this is a symbolic moment in their bid to be the fastest boat non-stop around the world as mentally it marks the half way point. From here the longitude counter will tick down until they reach Cape Horn getting on for 4,000 miles away in terms of sailing distance. If they maintain their present speed this will make for a potential Cape Horn rounding on 13 April.

Currently Orange is out of Inmarsat satellite range but in an email from on board skipper Bruno Peyron mentioned that the front that has been chasing them finally passed them last night, bringing with it winds less than forecast - just gusts of up to 45 knots! They are currently to the north of a giant Southern Ocean depression centred at 62degS. Last night the team encountered a squall line where the boat speed kept oscillating between 14 and 37.8 knots...

The next hurdle in their voyage is to negotiate a high pressure ridge that is slowly descending from the north. This might force Orange to gybe back on to starboard and head south east. The risk of this is that they may well encounter icebergs as the Volvo Ocean Race boats did when they were in this vicinity. Alternatively they will continue on port and head north east to get round the ridge. If they take the latter option they should see the wind back to the north allowing them to once again head south.

"All's well on board and it's starting to smoke from under the bows... " commented Peyron. "The boat is lighter now and behaving normally..." Multihulls, even ones as long as Orange (110ft) are very sensitive to weight and since the start the crew has slowly been lightening the boat, eating the provisions, etc. As a result Orange should get progressively faster as her record attempt unfolds. With the large depression to the south, and the more regular seas Orange is in her element.

Crewman Nick Moloney reported that Orange was sailing under double reefed main and storm jib in 35-40 knots from 115degTWA. Impressively he had just scored a boat speed record of 38.6 knots careering down the front of a wave. "Pitch black night can hardly make out the horizon. Probably wouldnt have
happened if I could have seen where I was going as I most likely wouldn't have turned our bows down the face of a wave that big," he commented drolely.

With speeds sitting on 30 knots and often up to 36 knots in the surf, Orange have extended their lead over their virtual competitor, record holder Sport Elec. We can also expect a high mileage from Orange tomorrow.

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