Orange underway

James Boyd saw Bruno Peyron and Neal McDonald's crew set off on their Round Britain record attempt

Monday August 12th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
At 08:10:13 GMT this morning Bruno Peyron's maxi catamaran Orange set off on her attempt to break the record for sailing non-stop around the British Isles. The time to beat is 5 days, 21 hours, 5 minutes and 27 seconds, the existing record set in 1994 by Mr Sailing Records himself, Steve Fossett.

In theory Orange should romp it. The current record was set by Fossett on his 60ft trimaran Lakota and at 110ft Orange has a distinct waterline length advantage that should allow her to demolish the record.

When Lakota set the current current her average speed for the 1787 mile trip was 12.67 knots. When Orange set her Jules Verne Trophy record earlier this year for sailing the 28,000 miles non-stop around the world she averaged a healthy 18.15 knots. In theory she should be more than capable of averaging 20 knots around the British Isles a speed which would see her return to the Solent in the early hours of Friday morning.

However there are additional factors at stake. Although Orange is bigger and faster, Fossett and his crew were able to wait for the right conditions before they set off. Peyron had a window of two days in which to leave and with the forecast set to go light mid-week he may well be hard pressed to keep the speed up even on the maxi-cat. Peyron is also conservative by nature and paramount to this attempt will be keeping the boat in one piece.There will be no pounding into headseas at speed. But it is this cautious approach that has so often proven successful during his past record attempts. It is most likely that he will break rather than demolish the Round Britain record. To break the record he must arrive before 06:10:13 BST on Sunday morning. We anticipate Orange will finish sometime on Saturday.

Obviously this will be down to the conditions too. Last night Peyron and his nanvigator Roger Nilson made a rather fundamental change of plan, opting to make the passage clockwise rather anticlockwise around the British Isles. The reason for this was that the forecast showed them encountering a series of mini depressions between the remote island of St Kilda north west of the Hebrides and Muckle Flugga, the northernmost tip of the Shetland Isles. The downside of the choice is that it will give them a beat down to the Scillies today. In contrast Steve Fossett and his crew in 1994 sailed round anti-clockwise.

The start and finish point of the recrd is a line off Ventnor on the southeastern side of the Isle of Wight, the same line that Fossett used where the World Sailing Speed Record Council's Sir Peter Johnson was on station to record Orange's departure time.

The Times' Ed Gorman who is sailing on board the mixed Anglo-French crew led by Peyron and co-skipper Neal McDonald, will be keeping madfor sailing readers updated with their progress.

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