Orange II, Bruno Peyron's new Multiplast-built, racing machine was launched yesterday in France

After 14 months in build and more than 90,000 man hours, the new maxi catamaran designed by the Gilles Ollier Design Team and built by Multiplast, was launched yesterday (Monday 22 December 2003) in Vannes, France in the presence of her skipper, Frenchman Bruno Peyron.

Bruno Peyron commented at the launch or Orange II: “Although the boat is a concentration of technology, she is above all else a work of art in the image of her engineers, designers and builder who created her.”

Multiplast has been building hi-tech carbonfibre yacht for more than 20 years and holds a unique round the world ocean-sailing list of achievements. Gilles Ollier added: “This new maxi multicoque – the fifth to come out of the Multiplast shed in four years – is referred to as a ‘machine’, however, there is nothing of a monster about her. This new boat is not revolutionary, she has just been perfected. She is the fruit of years of experience.”

Compared with the Club Med generation which only dates back four years, the difference in length with Orange II is just 4.50m, and a mast which is just 6m taller. However, Orange II has a displacement which is 30 per cent greater than her predecessors, with a design power capacity of more than 60 per cent that of Club Med or the first Orange. Franck Martin, member of the design team commented: “In view of these factors, we can hope that average speeds are 5-10 per cent higher than the previous generation. This means that the 700 miles in 24 hours barrier will no doubt be reached and exceeded, and that top speeds of 45 will be recorded.”

Until at least the end of January, the objective will be to realise a whole series of load tests on the boat. Firstly at a standstill in the harbour, followed by sea trials. The boat will be based in La Trinité-sur-Mer for these tests, a harbour town a short distance down the coast from the Multiplast yard.

Bruno Peyron said: “We prefer to stay around here for the first tuning period. If we have to make any important changes, it’s best to have the yard close at hand.” That said, optimism is the order of the day. Orange II should be ready to set out on the Jules Verne Trophy record attempt by mid-February 2004. Peyron continued: I don’t see how we can be ready any earlier. Everything has to be validated on board. And then even if we’re ready by mid-February, we’ll only have a few weeks experience in our boots; and not the two years we had with Orange.”

It’s interesting to remember however, that Club Med, in the week following her launch, crossed the 35 knot barrier and that in the month that followed, she covered 625 miles in 24 hours, the greatest distance then covered by a sail boat in that time limit and took the record of the Route de la Découverte from Cadix to San Salvador (Bahamas).

Specifications Orange II

Loa 37.80 m

Hull L 36.80 m

Beam 18.00 m

Air clearance 48.00 m

Mast height 45.00 m

Boom length 17.00 m

Upwind sail area 700 m2

Downwind sail area 1,000 m2