Bruno Peyron and team aboard Orange II are now over eight days ahead of the outright world speed record

Having rounded Cape Horn on Friday Bruno Peyron and his 13-man crew are now just 600 miles south of Rio de Janeiro after 36 days at sea and have a staggering lead of over eight days on Steve Fossett’s outright record.

Despite hitting a whale at full throttle yesterday which has caused great concern for Team Orange they’ve still managed to clock up 555 miles and average 24.9kts of boat speed. They are now over eight days ahead of Steve Fossett’s record and assuming they manage to fix the rudder and no other significant damage is found to the hull, the situation is looking incredibly rosy.

Last year Fossett and team broke the outright world speed record aboard the 125ft catamaran Cheyenne in 58 days with an improved time of nearly six days over Peyron’s previous record. As it stands it looks as though Peyron could even break the 50 day record.

Although initial investigations show that other than a damaged rudder there the boat is still intact, Team Orange II is however, making the most of the light winds in a transition zone between the current depression and the Saint Helena High and hope to inspect the boat and work on the damaged rudder as soon as possible.

The aim is to find relatively flat water to allow a diver to go down and investigate further and apply a carbon bandage around the damaged area of the rudder.

Peyron commented: “We have noticed that the top skin of the rudder has come away and that the fences have disappeared too. We cannot se if the second layer of fibre is coming away or not. Everyone is keeping a permanent eye on it. We have some resin that sets in the water so we can make repairs underwater. If we decide to dismantle it, we know how to do that but to get it back together again it would need to be very calm. We have virtually gone round the world on starboard tack and in two days we will need a port rudder. As a result we are focusing our attention on an underwater solution as soon as we can bring the boat to a standstill.”