Sunday finish likely

Orange due to hang a right today towards the finish line

Wednesday May 1st 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Day 60 - 0800 GMT, 1 Mayl 2002

Orange position: 35deg 01N 39deg 59W
Distance covered in last 24 hours: 441.51nm

Compared to Sport Elec record in 1997
Position: 05deg 00N 27deg 20W
Distance covered in 24 hour period: 204.7nm

Orange is 1,611 nm further down the track than Sport Elec

Orange's ETA in Brest looks set to be sometime on Sunday. In this case despite their mast potentially leaping out of the boat, despite Bruno Peyron's conservative approach to this round the world voyage and despite the appalling luck they have had with the weather, they will still have taken the record for sailing non-stop round the world down from 72 days to around 64 days. Pretty impressive.

Today Orange was still on her track north to skirt the Azores high pressure system, leaving Flores, the westernmost of the Azores islands 550 miles to starboard. Orange's track is now substantially further west than that of record holder Sport Elec.

The moment everyone following this attempt is waiting for - and in particular the crew - is soon to take place: Orange later today is expected to key into the strong westerly winds of the north Atlantic and hang a right for the finish line. From here it will be simply be a roller coaster ride towards the finish line off the island of Ushant, although the wind look set to go soft at the weekend.

Skipper Bruno Peyron gave his thoughts about their arrival time: "It is still difficult to commit to an ETA. At 18 knots average, we'll cross the line at midday on Sunday. At 17 knots, it'll be Sunday evening... but of course, Orange can also go faster..."

A Sunday finish is fortunate for the French crew. For that is the day their stores run out.

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