Bruno Peyron and team have spent the first 24 hours of their Round Britain and Ireland record-breaking attempt, aboard the maxicat Orange, averaging 14-15 knots

The crew on board the giant catamaran Orange have spent the first 24 hours of their Round Britain and Ireland speed record breaking attempt, in fairly calm conditions.

Shortly after their start yesterday morning from Ventnor off the Isle of Wight, she was sailing upwind in a west-north-westerly wind at 15-18 knots, in a current of less than four knots, resulting in an average speed over ground of 14-15 knots. Last night was calmer still, which affected the average speed this morning.

“We weren’t expecting to sail any faster right now as the first part of the course is the slowest, “explained Bruno Peyron during the radio chat session early this morning.

“We ought to start picking up speed and get back into the record timing within a couple of hours as the boat should sail at 20-25 knots on the way past Ireland up to Scotland. We passed the Scilly Isles 0500. A south-westerly 20-25 knot wind should be kicking in fairly shortly. We’ve taken a reef in the main and are currently steering a direct course. We’ll no doubt be running into a couple of calm zones tonight, but should be able to pick up a south-westerly wind after Ireland, which is something to look forward to.”

By lunchtime today, Bruno’s predictions came true as the wind had filled in and they were back up to an average speed of 22 knots.

“There is nothing to envy on this record compared to the main ocean crossings and southern ocean sailing,” the skipper of Orange pointed out.

“It is a difficult course with a 360 degrees geography making it impossible to have favorable winds all the time. There’s a great atmosphere on board and we’re all really happy to be sailing together. One watch follows another perfectly naturally: four guys on deck, four on stand-by and four off-watch, par for the course on a circumnavigation.”

Challenges that the crew will face include keeping a constant watch for other vessels, particularly during the night when other shipping would not expect any sail boat to be sailing at the speeds that Orange will achieve, keeping far enough away from dangerous coastlines in case they face major problems, yet cutting every corner to shorten the miles.

Weather forecasters on this side and the other side of the Atlantic have different opinions on what the weather conditions will be like going up the coast of Ireland. The US weathermen are predicting 5-6 knots of wind speed while their British counterparts are predicting 12 knots.

Peyron added: “We are keeping our fingers crossed that the forecast from our English friends is proven right.”

His co-skipper Neal McDonald added:

“It is great to be back on board a boat so soon after the Volvo Ocean race. Sailing on Orange is a lot more pleasant than being on a V60. As a boat it is a lot more logical. Cruising is how I would describe sailing along at 19 knots on Orange, while aboard a V60 it would be much harder work, pushing the loads around and working the boat to its limit.”

Orange must complete the circumnavigation of Britain and cross the start/finish line off Ventnor on the Isle of Wight before four minutes past six and forty six seconds local time on Sunday 18 August.

Current position (at 1400)

51 37.76N

010 27.44W

Current course

316 degrees

Current speed

12.3 knots

Distance to Inishtearaght

30.58 nm

The boat is now ahead of the record pace by three hours, having sailed the last five hours at around 20 knots.