Round Muckle Flugga

Orange starts her descent south into the teeth of strong headwinds

Thursday August 15th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
Following the calms of Ireland, Bruno Peyron and Neal McDonald have been making hay since yesterday as their giant catamaran Orange has been eating up the miles, blasting around the top of Scotland at speeds in excess of 25 knots in flat water and strong winds. They are now well ahead of Steve Fossett's record for the non-stop loop of the British Isles.

"We had quite an exciting night really," commented McDonald this morning. "There were threats of a lot of wind that came in very short and sharp. I think when I was on deck I saw 42 knots once, but I guess the average was 30 or 28 perhaps. It's been up and down, quite different conditions, lots of reefs in and reefs out. But the one thing we've been lucky with is flat water., which has allowed the boat to be pushed pretty hard and make some terrific speeds."

Bruno Peyron confirmed that they had been burning rubber since the right conditions materialised. "Conditions on board this morning are a bit wet since we restarted after the calm yesterday we've been pushing hard and doing a very good speed average. But of course it is a lot of wrok and a lot of water on deck."

However the strong southerlies which have whizzed them to the top of the Shetland Island, will be making for some unpleasant conditions after. "Because we are pushing hard and an average speed since we restarted is a little bit more than 25-26 knots," continued Peyron as they approached Muckle Flugga. "The wind is still from the south at 30 knots. This is a good news for the next hours, but bad news for the day coming and the forecast unfortunately is saying as we predicted that the wind will stay in the south with strong wind. So we will have dead beating again, which is worse against a strong wind. At the end of the day it is supposed to lift a bit, so it will be a bit more comfortable, but at the beginning we will have to be very slow again."

Although they are currently ahead of the record, Peyron is not certain if they will be able to hang on to it. "For the moment we are ahead of the record because we have manage to recapture what we lost and put something in the bank. So we are perhaps 100 miles ahead, but we are going to lose our advances in this coming day."

One gets the impression that the former ASSA ABLOY Volvo Ocean Race skipper is thoroughly in his element. "We've had a great trip so far, we've eaten pretty well. Jason got a wack to the nose yesterday, but he seems to be alright," commented McDonald.

More photos on page 2 and 3...

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