Giant catamaran tops 630 miles in 24 hours

Bruno Peyron and his crew on Orange really hit their stride yesterday, logging between 630 and 640 miles in 24 hours. They are in the Southern Ocean between New Zealand and Cape Horn, and are skirting the cold water and ice territory of the Antarctic Convergence Zone. So far the south has been kind to them and these speeds look set to continue in ideal conditions.

“We’ve been saying ever since we arrived in the Southern Ocean that as soon as all the condittions were right – angle and force of wind and sea state – then Orange would accelerate,” Peyron said during the daily chat show yesterday. “A high has smoothed the sea and the swell is favourable. It’s now that we must unleash the horses because we can combine being cautious with the gear and high speeds.”

Peyron has made it clear that breaking the 24-hour record, which currently stands at 687 miles (set by PlayStation, New York-Lizard, October 2001), is not a priority. And until now, it has not been likely, as the stores on board would have made the boat too heavy. Now more than halfway round, Orange is lighter and a record between here and Cape Horn would be possible in ideal conditions.

However, a bigger consideration is trying to outflank an a tropical low in the Southern Pacific. If they can sail fast and keep in the current ridge of high pressure, they may outrun it.