Rough seas as the maxi-catamaran reaches the halfway mark and heads towards the New Zealand ice zone

Orange II, the maxi-catamaran attempting to beat the Jules Verne Trophy record and the absolute round the world record, has had to ease off on the throttle a little over the past 24 hours. Rough seas with six to seven metre troughs are forcing Team Orange to hold back.

The crew, skippered by Bruce Peyron, have already had two failures with a running backstay winch and a boom block that exploded. Fortunately, these two incidents weren’t serious, but the skipper’s decision to slow down is wise.

A front ahead with 50-knot winds, is creating tough conditions but Orange II is still managing to maintain an average speed of almost 23 knots.

Priority is being given at the moment to finding the best route to avoid punishing the boat, while at the same time improving day by day on the lead over the two major records they are aiming at.

Orange II is now more than 2000 miles ahead of the two records and passed the halfway point today (Wednesday 16 February) after 24 days of sailing.

Bruno Peyron said: “It’s true that it is quite impressive to know that we are almost at the halfway point, even if we’re not too happy about the past 24 hours. We’ve had some nasty seas.

“It was difficult to let the boat suffer, not having the right angle and being forced to slow down, but we mustn’t grumble either when you see 11 days to reach Cape Town, 21 days for the south of Australia and 24 or 25 days for New Zealand.”

Bruno also spoke about the looming New Zealand ice zone. “We haven’t had any information over the past month concerning the ice zone, which lies ahead. We don’t have any radar or security system on board, so we’re going to have to take the long way around. That will mean we have further to go.”