Over the Meridian

Orange now making 500+ mile days in the Southern Ocean

Tuesday March 19th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Positions at 0800 19 March
Day 17 Lat Long Distance in last 24H Total distance sailed Average speed last 24H Instant speed
ORANGE 38°14S 0°20W 540,42 m 7097,85 m 22,52 kn 25,1 kn
SPORT ELEC 31°26S 17°53W 378,6 m 5169,57 m 15,77 kn nc

Weather until 20 March

In her bid to break the Jules Verne Trophy for sailing non-stop around the world, the crew of Orange this morning passed through the Greenwich Meridian and the next stop is passing the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope.

Following their slow progress through the South Atlantic the 110ft catamaran is now romping along in typical Southern Ocean conditions with a big depression trucking along beneath them (see weather chart above) which has pushed the high pressure system they had to negotiate over the weekend up to the north east. These are conditions in which Orange and her kind excel and she is able to rack up 500+ mile days with relative ease. How fast the depression to their south west is moving is hard to judge but assuming it is moving at around the same speed as Orange then this could provide them with a perfect rollercoaster ride for the first portion of the Southern Ocean part of their voyage.

This morning Orange was sailing in 25-30 knot northwesterly winds, perfect conditions for the big cat and the optimum position on the system - their timing has been impeccible in this respect. Sailing under mainsail (between one reef and full main), staysail and mid-genniker, the speedo reads between 23-28 knots, although Orange is capable of much, much more, maintaining this high average speed is all they need,

"We're seeing 30+ kts in squalls but that helps keep the averages up," commented Orange's resident Australian Nick Moloney. "Last night we spent several periods sitting in the high 20s of boat speed. There's a very confused seaway requiring lots of concentration."

The good days are back once more and the team are making hay. "It's now that we must attack", commented skipper Bruno Peyron. "No euphoria aboard however. We're not slackening our attention. Concentration is at a maximum, even though the happy faces of the boys are a pleasure to see."

"We hope to stick with this system for several days" added crewman Jean-Baptiste Epron, "Perhaps as far as the middle of the Indian Ocean. Then the wind will veer to the south-west and it will be time to put about and descend towards Crozet on starboard tack."

Watch leader Hervé Jan described the conditions: "We're sailing in a stable north-westerly. The water is at 16 degrees. Even though we're in oilies and boots it's not cold and we're having some pleasant days. The boat is at 100% of her potential. As for the sails, we've had just a small stitch fail at the first reef of the main to deplore. We're going fast but we're sailing "conservatively" enough to keep the boat under control."

Below - one happy skipper, Bruno Peyron

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