Having spent the last 12 hours in barely any breeze, Team Orange is now preparing for big winds as she heads up the west coast
Bruno Peyron and his crew on board Orange had a second difficult day today during their attempt to break the Round Britain and Ireland speed record. Orange was becalmed for 12 hours as they made their way up the Irish coast, and by early this morning, Bruno Peyron’s maxi cat was 70 miles behind the schedule set by Steve Fossett in 1994.
However, the fortunes of the crew changed when the wind gods answered their prayers with a fresh breeze. With her mainsail and gennaker up, Orange gathered pace, moving from 5 knots to 26- 28 knots in a short space of time. Bruno Peyron commented: “Sailing without any wind on the fastest boat in the world is extremely frustrating for a racing crew, but the quality crew we have on board combined with the extreme speeds that our steed is capable, means that we can catch up very quickly now that the wind has kicked in. Working on the weather is extremely interesting as we combine different weather files from different sources. There is no point denying that this time round, the Americans had got it right. (Note: The British forecasters had predicted winds). They had forecast this windless zone which kept us stuck in one place for 12 very long hours. The combined experience of our weather experts, Roger Nilson on board Orange and ‘Clouds’ Badham in Australia, is proving invaluable when analysing the different weather systems we are faced with. They discuss things every day, analysing the different weather files together and present the range of possible options to us. Neal and I then assess these before deciding which route to follow. We also receive precise weather information from weather buoys, enabling us to fine-tune our track.”
In an email from the only Irish man on board Damian Foxall added: “We are still off the coast of Ireland. For most of the last 12 hours we have been stuck in a hole drifting between 4-5 knots and sometimes not even in the right direction! The rest of the crew were looking at me suspiciously when we found ourselves parked 12 miles from my home in Kerry for much of that time!
“It is typical Irish weather – drizzling with rain, foggy and lots of low cloud, but the breeze has now filled in and we are lying along at 26-27 knots in completely flat water – perfect. We now have to make up the 70 miles we lost during the night.”
On the change in the weather, co-skipper McDonald added:
“It’s great to be rocking along at last. We have got just over 20 knots of wind, flat water and we are gliding along between 20-25 knots. There’s more wind to come but at least we are earning back the miles that were stripped from us. This is easy and fast sailing but in an hour or so we will be out past the northern tip of Ireland that is flattening the sea right now. It could get a bit more grown up then, particularly when the wind builds to the 40-45 knots that is forecast. Bring it on. We’re starting to enjoy ourselves!”
Storm warning tonight
Weather conditions should remain favourable for Orange in the hours that lie ahead, but 40-45 knots winds are expected tonight, forcing Orange to shorten sail and tread very carefully indeed. For the moment, the giant cat is rounding the northern tip of Ireland before heading east to the north-west coast of Scotland and the Shetland Isles.
Reminder: to beat Steve Fossett’s 1994 record, Orange has to cross the finish line (Isle of Wight – UK) before Sunday 18th August at 7h 4mn and 46 s.