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Jules Verne Trophy

They won’t be seeing Flores with its volcanoes and hydrangeas...

mercredi 1er mai 2002

The western island of the Azores group is 550 miles away to starboard. The high of the same name is lazing at home... Bruno Peyron, wary and cunning, is skirting round it well away, apparently in no hurry to wink right and rush for France. On the sixtieth day at sea and less than 1500 nautical miles from the promised land, Orange’s XIII appear very serene. Their confidence is barely tarnished by the spectre of the still threatening cracked mast ball. Peyron is giving himself some margin. The elements seem to be in agreement about laying out the carpet to Ushant. Orange is taking advantage. She is tramping along on a smooth sea and in hot sunshine. The wind is gently lifting astern of the boat. The time to gybe is approaching. The low can come in from port. The air it is carrying is strong enough, 30/35 knots, this is North-West air, all the way from Newfoundland and the Labrador, the air that brings sailors home.

The return up the South Atlantic, so unorthodox, demonstrated the formidable efficiency of the "Peyron style" ; that’s to say privileging the wind angle that favours speed and spares the boat, even if it means adding a few miles to the log. If you remember, Orange by-passed round an entire high pressure system that stretched from America to Africa, and still managed to keep up a decent pace. Since the Equator, Peyron and his men have been reproducing the same pattern ; the trades are from the North-East ? So what, we’ll ease the sheets and claw up well off the Azores, and onto the western edge of the high of the same name. So close to the centre of the high, one sails by the barometer. It’s the boat that decides : one protects her, fusses over her... and in return she does 460 miles in a day, as ever ready to stride out. On board they’re not impatient. The satisfaction of leaving behind them the upwind beating and the nasty chop can be seen on their faces. Tomorrow it’s onto port tack, and a beam reach, and for a moment they’ll be forgetting the defective mast ball and the thousand and one worries of a boat marked by 26,000 miles of effort at 18 knots average. Orange’s challenge for the Jules Verne Trophy is entering its final days. The ship’s stores, concocted in masterly fashion by Jean-Baptiste Epron provided for individual hot meals for each of the 13 men until Sunday May 5th. Beyond that and its an insipid diet of plain pasta...

Quote / unquote...

Gilles Chiorri : "This morning we were on a collision course with a yacht ! We passed 10 metres astern of a "Swan 68", a magnificent yacht on her way from France to the Caribbean. Seb (Josse) knew the skipper and spoke for a moment with the first human being (apart from ourselves) seen since the start. The boat is sliding along perfectly, with full main and big gennaker in 10/12 knots of wind. We’ll soon be able to luff and head for Brest Brest #brest ."

Bruno Peyron : "Still difficult to commit to an ETA. At 18 knots average, we’ll cross the line at midday on Sunday. At 17 knots, it’ll be Sunday evening... but of course, Orange can also go faster..."

Denis van den Brink / Mer & Media Agency Translation David Palmer / SeaSpeak



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