Light first day for Orange

Co-skippers Bruno Peyron and Neal McDonald give their views on the Round Britain attempt

Tuesday August 13th 2002, Author: Orange, Location: United Kingdom
The first 24 hours on board the giant catamaran Orange have gone by and fairly calm conditions have been reported by the crew on board. Shortly after getting underway yesterday morning, she was sailing upwind in a WNW wind at 15-18 knots, in a current of less than 4 knots, resulting in an average speed over ground of 14-15 knots. Last night was calmer still, which affected the average speed this morning.

"We weren't expecting to sail any faster right now as the first part of the course is the slowest, " explained Bruno Peyron during the radio chat session early this morning.

"We ought to start picking up speed and get back into the record timing within a couple of hours as the boat should sail at 20-25 knots on the way past Ireland up to Scotland. We passed the Scilly Isles at 5 o'clock this morning. A south-westerly 20-25 knot wind should be kicking in fairly shortly. We've taken a reef in the main and are currently steering a direct course. We'll no doubt be running into a couple of calm zones tonight, but should be able to pick up a south-westerly wind after Ireland, which is something to look forward to."

By lunchtime today, Bruno's predictions came true as the wind had filled in and they were back up to an average speed of 22 knots.

"There is nothing to envy on this record compared to the main ocean crossings and southern ocean sailing," the skipper of Orange pointed out.

"It is a difficult course with a 360° geography making it impossible to have favourable winds all the time. There's a great atmosphere on board and Orange is acting as a lucky charm ? we're all really happy to be sailing together. One watch follows another perfectly naturally: 4 guys on deck, 4 on stand-by and 4 off-watch, par for the course on a circumnavigation."

Challenges that the crew will face include keeping a constant watch for other vessels, particularly during the night when other shipping would not expect any sail boat to be sailing at the speeds that Orange will achieve, keeping far enough away from dangerous coastlines in case they face major problems, yet cutting every corner to shorten the miles.

Weather forecasters on this side and the other side of the Atlantic have different opinions on what the weather conditions will be like going up the coast of Ireland. The US weathermen are predicting 5 ? 6 knots of wind speed whilst their British counterparts are predicting 12 knots.

Peyron added, "We are keeping our fingers crossed that the forecast from our English friends is proven right."

His co-skipper Neal McDonald added, "It is great to be back on board a boat so soon after the Volvo Ocean race. Sailing on Orange is a lot more pleasant than being on a V60. As a boat it is a lot more logical. Cruising is how I would describe sailing along at 19 knots on Orange, whilst aboard a V60 it would be much harder work, pushing the loads around and working the boat to its limit."

Orange must complete the circumnavigation of Britain and cross the start/finish line off Ventnor on the Isle of Wight before four minutes past six and forty six
seconds local time on Sunday 18th August.

Orange co-skippers, Neal McDonald and Bruno Peyron. Spot the one from Hamble.

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