Zest free days ahead for Orange

Peyron is between a rock and a hard place weather wise in the South Atlantic

Thursday April 18th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Day 47 - 0806 GMT, 17 April 2002

Orange position: 37 deg 33S 25 deg 31 W
Distance covered in last 24 hours: 301.88nm

Compared to Sport Elec record in 1997
Position: 55deg 47S 65deg 48W

Orange is 1547nm further down the track than Sport Elec after 46 days

The South Atlantic is once again proving awkward for the record breaking passage of Bruno Peyron's maxi cat Orange.

Currently Orange is heading in north easterly direction into the middle of the re-established South Atlantic high in order to avoid a massive depression. At present boat speed is good - close reaching at almost 20 knots in a 20 knots NNE wind and a smooth sea. But conditions will lighten tomorrow as they negotiate the high that Peyron and his on board navigator Gilles Chiorri feel is impossible to navigate around.

"We don't have many choices" admited Bruno Peyron during today's radio chat session. "To our left is the low with winds of more than 40 knots and to our right there is a high and it's impossible to go round it, it's so big. So, we're going to have to cut through it. We think we'll be in it sometime tomorrow. The wind will progressively slacken remaining on the nose, then we'll have to cross the slack wind of the high before picking up the following winds on its eastern edge". It sounds simple when one reads it, but on the water it's a different story.

Forecasts are sent through from France twice daily and the crew are intently watching the barometer for changes in atmospheric pressure. "It's a real race against the clock!" commented Peyron. "But the advantage is that these boats don't require much wind to keep going. It's true that this high is really big, but there must be some wind inside it!"

For the crew, conditions are becoming a lot more clement with day's temperature of 16degC from the warm northerly wind. This has enabled the crew to peel off their second layer of fleece and to return to a slightly more normal rhythm of life: "I've even started reading a book again that I abandoned on entering the Southern Ocean" said crewman Benoît Briand. "Last night's watch was magnificent with a sky full of stars. It was our first beautiful night since we left the South. The sky was low and grey before. I was even able to steer using a star as a bearing. One could almost believe we were in the Bay of Biscay...".

But the clock is ticking: At 1510 today there were 24 days 8 hours and 45 minutes left for Peyron and his crew to beat the Jules Verne Trophy record.

See page two to read crewman Nick Moloney's account....

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