Orange II clocked up nearly 700 miles in the last 24 hours

Bruno Peyron and team aboard the maxi-catamaran Orange II are continuing to clock up almost 700 miles in 24 hours on their round the world record attempt.

They are playing with a low-pressure area, which is racing along behind them. As the system develops, they are sometimes slowing down before accelerating away again, in order to remain in the wind corridor, which is ideal in strength and direction and is propelling them along to the southern tip of South America.

Paying more attention than ever to the ice, the crew will be keeping on a course relatively far to the north at 55°S. Peyron is giving priority to speed and knows that his fabulous maxi catamaran can easily make up for the extra miles they are covering away from the theoretical route.

They are therefore heading due east clocking up as many miles in longitude as possible, before tackling tougher conditions, which are forecast closer to the Horn. The 14 men should be spotting Cape Horn as early as Friday afternoon. Orange II is ploughing through the Pacific under two reefs, gennaker and staysail. Their time is taken up with adjustments and reacting to any changes. There is still one sailor out at the front on the central beam watching for ice with the help of infra-red binoculars.

Peyron commented: “We are fully concentrated. We’re racing away ahead of a front. It’s pitch black, as the moon is obscured by clouds, and we’re speeding along at between 27 and 35 knots. We’re not really aiming at covering the magic 700 miles a day, even if that is within reach. The changes in watch are always a tricky moment, especially at night; there must be a smooth handover to the new team, who must be able to take control of all the parameters linked to the very high speed. It’s particularly difficult for the helmsman, who suddenly is given a monster hurtling along at more than 30 knots. However, we’re now well used to it, and as I’ve already pointed out, each day makes us stronger, each day makes us more efficient.”