Bruno Peyron and team are now three and half days ahead of the record

Orange II is still flirting with the howling fifties, close to the ice zone limit, in rather hostile climatic conditions. Yet this does not affect the crew’s high spirit, boosted by the three and a half-day lead over the record. After 18 days at sea, such a situation is beyond expectations. Especially now, since after having spent a few difficult days sailing betweens ice blocks, islands and calm zones, Orange II will now be able to sail flat out on a direct route.

At 0500 this morning Bruno Peyron said: “We just gybed, because we’re sailing too fast! The high-pressure cell does not move as quickly as we do. We headed towards the south-east for two or three hours, in order to catch the wind shift, and once this is done, we’ll be able to head east, which will have us pass in the north of the Kerguelen Islands. It wouldn’t be of any interest to sail under the archipelago. Then, we’ll follow the ice convergence line for four days.

“Everyday, the time difference increases by one hour, so we have to adapt our biological rhythm. This, plus the fast Atlantic descent, the cold temperature outside and the short nights, explains the tiredness felt aboard. Nights are getting longer though, roughly six to seven hours now. And we’re getting used to the cold. Three days ago, we had the same temperature but today we’re coping better with it – except for the stand-by watch, who have to sleep outside. When it’s actually 8°C, due to the apparent wind, the temperature drops to -5°C? But we can get used to that also.

“Even though we’re sailing a straight course, there are still many manoeuvres to perform on deck, and we’re getting better everyday. The guys just did a superb gybe. For the next four days, we’ll have a classical sails reduction sequence, depending on the wind force: we’re currently carrying 240 sqm of sails, and we’ll go through all the various possible combinations and reductions. There’s always something going on aboard Orange II.

“To be honest, at first I never thought we’d have such a lead over the record (3.5 days). My ambition was to be in the pace of the previous benchmark time, and to attack at times, just enough to round the Horn with a little advantage. Our situation today goes beyond my expectations. And if our lead reaches four days by the time we get to Tasmania (mid-course), it’ll be great. We’re maintaining a good average speed since the start, despite some weather systems that have not always been favourable. Yet, we seem to be faster than the fastest boat on the planet.”

Key figures

Day at sea: 18

Date: 02/11/2005

Time (GMT): 04:00

Latitude : 47 50.36′ S

Longitude : 59 42.28 E

Instant speed: 20.2 kts

Instant heading: 76°

Avg speed: 21.7 kts

Avg speed over 24 hours: 18.3 kts

Distance over 24hours: 438 mn

Avg speed since the start: 22.4 knots

Distance covered: 9,406 nm

Remaining distance: 15,708.8 nm