If Bruno Peyron and team aboard Orange II can hold it together they're well in line for breaking the world (crewed) speed record and Jules Verne

During this morning’s radio session at 0400 GMT it was reported that Bruno Peyron and team aboard the 120ft catamaran Orange II were clocking 32.4 knots of instantaneous speed and maintaining an average speed of 30 knots. Team Orange II is now midway across the southern Pacific on its world speed record attempt and in the last 24 hours has notched up 626 miles at an average of 26.1 knots.

At this current rate Peyron says they could reach Cape Horn by Friday which would further extend their lead over Steve Fossett’s outright world speed record. They are currently – after just 28 days at sea – 2,830 nm ahead of the Jules Verne record and 2,368 nm ahead of the absolute record. Chatting from the boat this morning Peyron said: “The wind and sea conditions that we are encountering at the moment are enabling us to make pure speed and continue to attack the Southern Pacific.

“We are well placed forward of a warm front, on the edge of the ice convergence zone, likely to begin to use a rotation in the wind that will clock round in a favourable direction. We haven’t got a big swell enabling us to make long surfs, but the seas are very manageable and the waves are such that our giant can easily make 33-35 knots of boat speed.”

One of the inherent problems deep in the Southern Ocean is the risk of icebergs. However, with a constant ice berg watch system they’ve so far been careful to avoid any of the rogue growlers that many of the Vendee Globe skippers recently encountered. Peyron continued: “?the water is at 5° so we’re being careful… The depression that has been with us since Australia is continuing to carry us along. It should follow us until the Horn and perhaps even after it as it joins up with another depression that will climb up to the north-east after the Cape.

At the Horn we may suffer a little as the wind clocks round to the west forcing us to make a few tacks. If all goes according to plan though, we may be able to round the Horn on Friday morning and get another two days ahead of Fossett’s record time. Any forecasts are received with caution… The boat is really running very well and its speed is even beyond the speed polars recorded this summer. I am not surprised by the fantastic potential of this boat, but I didn’t expect to exploit it as much as we have and be able to attack in this way. The conditions are allowing us to permanently exploit between 90 and 100 per cent of the boat’s potential.”