Orange hits 500 miles in 24 hours.....

.....despite recent breakages as they race the Saint Helena High

Tuesday March 12th 2002, Author: Pierrick Garenne, Location: Transoceanic
Position at 0800hrs GMT Day 10

The maxi-catamaran Orange is continuing to rack up averages of more than 500 miles per 24 hours and is currently less than 500 miles east of Rio Janeiro (Brazil). Average speeds are hovering around 22 knots over 24 hours and nothing would seem to stop their rapid descent south.

A padeye failed last night but that wasn't enough to stop Bruno Peyron and his men from continuing their south-westerly heading. The Saint Helena High is centred 660 miles to the boat's SSE and they should be skirting it round to the west during the day tomorrow. The objective for the next 24 hours is simple: scrape past the centre of the high whilst avoiding getting parked in its calms.

"We've no intention of calling ourselves Bonaparte!" said Gilles Chiorri during today's radio bulletin.

Which means: we've no intention of being imprisoned by the Saint Helena high. And Orange is well set to leave this famous anticyclone firmly to their east, this same high that only two days ago threatened slamming the door to the Deep South in their faces.

"the wind is backing and is currently at 85/90°" continued Gilles. "It's almost on the beam and we're speeding along at 25/26 knots under full main and solent. We're going to put a little stitch in to the west to skirt the Saint Helena high and we should progressively pass to a broad reach this evening. We should be hoisting the gennaker and continue to keep up a pace of around 20 knots. In any case, we must keep our foot down to chase after a low and not miss the connection."

Which is Gilles Chiorri's, the boat's navigator, way of explaining that there is a small low to the south of the saint Helena high and they must pick up the northern edge of it to benefit from 15/20 knot reaching winds which would then speed them towards the famous Deep South motorway.

And Bruno Peyron chipped in "It wouldn't be bad at all catching this low before it escapes. It would permit us to head south-east and then ideally get into position in the 30 to 35 knot favourable winds. But first things first, we must get past Saint Helena, avoid going too far to the east and getting too close to the centre of the high and it's light airs!" Indeed, first things first. And while the maxi-catamaran will have to battle with light winds later this afternoon and tonight, she should be past the Saint Helena high by Wednesday night."

Nick Moloney emailed in; "Was woken this morning by the mainsheet block pad eye breaking, flew out of my bunk but situation now rectified by drilling into main beam and lashing. Now trying to change out all pad eyes of that make for lashings through the bolt holes direct to boat structure. They are used on Backstays, sheet blocks etc."

This almost weekly breakage during The Race has happened again on Orange and it was the one that held one of the mainsheet return blocks that had opened. "Nothing really serious" explained Ronan Le Goff during the chat session. "I was on watch and to start with we thought it was a problem with the mainsheet track. But we got it all repaired within two hours. It's all OK now and the boat is back on her normal pace!"

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