Orange record still in doubt

Despite blistering speed up to Shetland reports Ed Gorman

Thursday August 15th 2002, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom
11.30am Thursday

We have had some incredible sailing over the last 24 hours which will live in the memory longer than breaking a record. On the way up to St Kilda, the breeze picked up from the southeast and Orange started flying, skimming across the waves and developing up to 30 knots of boat speed.

Bruno Peyron's watch enjoyed the first part of the passage, then Neal McDonald's 'Anglo watch' ( that is Neal, Lisa McDonald, Jason Carrington and Neil 'Albert' Graham) took over from midnight and they had Orange smoking down the track with one reef in the mainsail and with the wind touching 40 knots in gusts.

The motion was easy and we just chewed up the miles as we closed the Shetlands.We needed every bit of this to make up for lost time off the southwest corner of Ireland. Having been behind Lakota's record pace of 12.67 knots, we reached Muckle Flugga after 72 hours at sea, with an average speed of just under 15 knots.

However, navigator Roger Nilson is a worried man. While at present we are beating slowly south at 10 knots and with some slamming to boot, the latest weather models show a big hole off East Anglia which could kill this recod attempt. Right now he is just hoping they are wrong.

Despite the many thousands of miles Orange has already sailed in her life, she is in excellent condition and has stood up to the rigours of some tough windward sailing very well. The old spectra mainsail looks pretty knackered but then it has been round the world twice.

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