Peeling off the miles again
Day 51 - 0806 GMT, 21 April 2002
Orange position: 26deg 16S 15deg 41 W
Distance covered in last 24 hours: 254nm
Compared to Sport Elec record in 1997
Position: 41deg 03S 46deg 26W
Distance covered in 24 hour period: 394nm
Orange is 1,245 nm further down the track than Sport Elec
Bruno Peyron's ambitious call to cross the South Atlantic high, rather than risk giving Orange a pasting in a low pressure system has paid off it seems. Despite making just 73 miles in the first 12 hours yesterday, last night Orange got through the high and out into the south easterly Trades and now is back on course making more than 25 knots.
If these conditions persist then at this pace they should once again be able to turn in a series of 500 miles days. This will get them to the Equator in 3-4 days time and will also enable the team to put more miles over the equivalent position from record holder Sport Elec in 1997.
During today's radio sched with the 110ft catamaran on board meteorologist Gilles Chiorri said they had finally picked up the ESE winds at around 2000 last night enabling them to head north. The wind had progressively strengthened the further away they had sailed from the centre of the high.
"It was a bit laborious crossing the high, because it kept moving along with us", commented Chiorri. "But yesterday evening the wind progressively picked up. We hoisted first the big gennaker and then the medium one and we're now under reacher (a large foresail for points of sailing closer to the wind). We now have 21 to 22 knots of true wind and the sea is calm".
Last night in an email skipper Bruno Peyron said that it had enabled them to gain some easting without losing any latitude. "It's not obvious following a course around 60° off the direct route for such a long time but it's interesting to see the result! And the result today is concrete: We're doing 24 knots along the direct route and our little comrades (of The Race and the Jules Verne Trophy) were beating along the Brazilian coast at 9 knots at this latitude and I don't like beating".
French records expert and photographer Christian Fevrier says that Orange this morning was ahead of Sport Elec's equivalent position by 1,245 miles (or 3-4 days). He points out that Sport Elec sailed an average of 310 miles per day between the Falklands and the finish line. Sport Elec also made a fast passage northbound through the Doldrums (making 378, 416 and 393 miles/day), while the forecast appears to be around 10 knots of breeze between 5degS and 5degN for Orange, which will again hamper her progress.
Christian has calculated that if Orange maintains a 350 mile average to the finish line she will complete her circumnavigation in 64-65 days. If they only manage 300 miles per day as an average it will be 66 days.
Bruno Peyron at the chart table