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Orange II on standby for another Atlantic record attempt

by Barby MacGowan 26 May 2006 13:07 BST

Bruno Peyron and Orange II on standby for another attempt at the Atlantic record

The Orange Sailing Team is lining up for some more records: Following the 24h single-handed record set by Yves Parlier (587 miles), Bruno Peyron and the crew of the maxi-catamaran Orange II are about to tackle the prestigious North Atlantic crewed record.

Already the holder of the round the world record, Orange II will be trying to smash the amazing record the American Steve Fossett has held since October 2001 of 4 days, 17 hours, 28 minutes and 06 seconds.

After spending a week in New York, the giant Orange II has today headed off towards Newport to put the final touches to her preparation and to go on stand to be able to set sail shortly.

The line-up of the crew chosen for the record will be announced a few days before they set out.

Another go at the North Atlantic:

It’s a sprint, a spurt, an explosion,… Steve Fossett and the crew of PlayStation raised the outright Atlantic crossing record to a point where it can in some ways be compared to the 100-metre dash in athletics. In order to beat the record now you need to bring all the ingredients together for a perfect race: smooth straight lines on a direct course for home, a strong and steady wind from the right direction… and a level of human endeavour befitting the ocean: a colossal effort! Imagine, less than 4 days and 17 hours to sail across the Atlantic. 4 days and 4 nights of total concentration to ensure the boat advances and behaves in the way she was designed to face these extreme challenges.

Since Charlie Barr, the route has become almost familiar: New York and Ambrose Light, the shores of New England and the huge Banks engulfed in mist, the loneliness of the Atlantic and the arrival back in the Channel approaches at the tip of Cornwall. There is no room for improvisation. However, it will require more than the conviction of Peyron’s men to set sail from New York. The approach to the study of the weather patterns is almost scientific. Then, there is intuition, flair and, yes, a helping hand from fate, which will decide whether or not the right low-pressure area will be in front of their bows, as they set sail for the Old World.

On board for the 10 racing mariners there is but one guiding principle. They must give their all, without faltering, remaining sensible and intelligent throughout. They need to be discerning enough to get through this stressful journey from the fogs of Nantucket through the fishermen of Newfoundland in winds that the sailors and boat itself always want to be stronger and stronger with the aim of drawing that perfect, triumphant arc between the two continents.

The fastest record in the world:

"After the round the world sailing record, the North Atlantic record is without doubt the most prestigious," Bruno Peyron has often stated. In terms of sheer speed, it is certainly the fastest record in the world. To beat Steve Fossett’s time, Peyron’s men will have to keep up an average speed of almost 26 knots throughout the Atlantic crossing. That means that the boat will have to be sailed continually at 30 knots to ensure this average is kept up throughout the voyage. "We’re lucky to have at our disposal what is probably the fastest boat on the water today. Our crew has shown they know how to push her forward very quickly, so now we just require that little bit of luck concerning the weather to get things just right," explained the skipper of Orange II.

If the weather conditions allow, Orange II may well take advantage of the situation to attempt to improve on her 24-hour sailing record (706.2 miles), set in August 2004 during her previous attempt at the North Atlantic (an attempt which failed by only 31 minutes). Now, they just have to keep their fingers crossed and wait for that perfect window of opportunity in the weather…

A crew made up of 10 people:

The crew chosen for the record will be comprised of 10 people (like in 2004). Two watches of four will switch over on deck. Bruno Peyron and the Swedish navigator Roger Nilson, will be there to swell the ranks, if required. The skipper of Orange II will present his team line-up just before setting sail from New York. The busy diaries of some of his team are making the selection process rather tricky.

History of the North Atlantic record:

The first performance on this route belongs to Charlie Barr, the captain of the Atlantic schooner. The proud vessel entered the history books in 1905 with a crossing of 12 days and 4 hours, a reference time that was to stand for 75 years… Eric Tabarly would improve on the performance by 2 days in 1980 on board his folier trimaran Paul Ricard, at an average speed of 11.93 knots. Following that, the attempts and improvements came at a steady pace, and the record would gradually be improved by the top names in French multihull yachting: Marc Pajot, Patrick Morvan, Loïc Caradec, Philippe Poupon and finally Serge Madec… on board Jet Services V (the future Commodore Explorer), which achieved a remarkable performance in 1990 (6 days, 13 hours and 3 minutes), which would remain the record for 11 years! We had to wait for the right moment and Steve Fossett’s attempt to see the record smashed on 10th October 2001. PlayStation entered the history books with a crossing lasting 4 days, 17 hours, 28 minutes and 06 seconds! Since then, only Bruno Peyron has tackled the record. Holder on two occasions of the single-handed Atlantic record, the skipper of Orange II has not yet managed to smash the crewed record. We should not forget, however, on his last attempt back in August 2004, he only missed out by a whisker (a mere 31 minutes).

North Atlantic crewed record

  • Route: New York / The Lizard (south-western tip of Great Britain)
  • Current record: Steve Fossett / giant catamaran PlayStation / 10th October 2001
  • The time to beat: 4 days, 17 hours, 28 minutes and 06 seconds
  • Average speed during the crossing: 25.78 knots
24-hour crewed record:
  • Current Record: Orange II / Bruno Peyron / 23rd August 2004
  • Distance to beat: 706.2 miles
  • Average speed over 24h: 29.42 knots

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