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Crewing To Win by Saskia Clark
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Bruno Peyrons maxi catamaran is almost at the finish

by Agence Mer & Média 6 Jul 2006 18:41 BST

Orange II is going to shatter the North Atlantic record this evening at around 18H GMT

The deed is almost done. Unless there is some damage or an incident occurs in the last minutes, Bruno Peyron and the other eleven men on board will be smashing the North Atlantic record this evening. Already the fastest around the world and the fastest over 24 hours, the Orange II maxi catamaran is due at the finishing line off The Lizard at around 18H GMT. They will thus have crossed the Atlantic in 4 days and around 7 hours, improving by about ten hours on Steve Fossett’s record, that was said to be unbeatable. Quite amazing.

In a few hours, Orange II will be almost certainly be entering the history books of sailing by shattering the North Atlantic record between New York and The Lizard at the south western tip of Britain. After one final tack to get back on track, Bruno Peyron’s maxi-catamaran with her crew of eleven others is due to cross the finishing line at around 18H GMT, thus improving on the time set by Steve Fossett’s PlayStation by around ten hours. They will be raising the bar once again that was previously set at 4 days, 17 hours, 28 minutes and 6 seconds.

At the check-in at 14h18 GMT, Orange II only had about 80 miles to go and was still advancing at an average speed of 20 knots. As expected, the wind eased off and the crew have been gentle with their boat due to the damage to Orange II’s port rudder following a collision with an unidentified floating object the day before yesterday.

During the radio session with Jean Maurel, Bruno Peyron explained: «The speed has dropped off, but it was deliberate because of the problem with the rudder and the wind eased off as forecast. However, still with 17 knots of wind, we’re managing speeds of 24 knots… »

Above all, on the contrary to what happened during the 2004 attempt, when they had to push the boat hard and failed by a measly half hour, Orange II is this time a long way ahead in her position. At the fifth comparison point, they had a lead of almost 300 miles over PlayStation… or around half a day’s sailing.

«We’re using our lead well including in our calculations the short final tack», explained Bruno Peyron, that isn’t worrying me. We’re really acting cautiously to ensure that the rudder stays with us until the end.»

«It’s beginning to feel good»

While like any self respecting sailor, Bruno Peyron swears "he feels nothing until the finishing line is crossed,» he admitted in the end: «To be totally honest, it’s beginning to feel good. The seas aren’t rough and the rudder has held out for a day and a half, so I don’t see why it should break today, so if everything goes smoothly until late today it will be fine!»

They had to finish before tomorrow morning at 4h28 to break the record. Orange II will be achieving a majestic victory by improving on this record by almost half a day, in the end probably around ten hours ahead.

«It will firstly be a feeling of pride for the teams that worked on the boat ashore last winter», the boss explained, «because we realised that the boat’s potential speed had been stepped up a notch. All of that is a question of development, a bit of reflection, a permanent questioning and when things turn out right, it’s very pleasing. Then, it’s only human to be happy at the finish. However, we’re not there yet. I can talk about that more tomorrow.»

The big rival, Steve Fossett, has already congratulated the crew for this exceptional crossing. «We received a little message from Steve yesterday», Bruno Peyron added, «as pleasant as ever, each time we break one of his records, as he’s such a decent chap. I’m joking, because he’s pleased it was us. In any case, someone had to smash it one day!»

Zizou’s blue team and Peyron’s Orange team…

‘One day’ has come. In just a few hours. When the large Orange bird crosses the line at The Lizard to become the fastest yacht ever to cross the Atlantic. At 12h22 GMT, Orange II was only 114 miles from the finish (211 km) and sailing in the mist at 25 knots towards glory. The average speed since New York has reached 29 knots. Zinedine Zidane’s blue boys are achieving something exceptional at the moment. Bruno Peyron’s Orange lads too.

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