Bruno Peyron and team on Orange II should break transatlantic record by 12 hours 6/7/06

Bruno Peyron reporting from the maxicat Orange II at 0500 this morning said: “We’re around ten hours from the finish.”

Peyron and team who set off aboard the 120ft maxicat on Sunday have already broken the 24-hour speed record and are due to finish 12 hours ahead of the current PlayStation record this morning. They clocked up an amazing 750 miles in 24 hours on Monday then topped that with a record run of 766 miles – averaging 32 knots – the next day. Peyron and team should be crossing the Lizard Point finish line within the next hour or so.

As they approached the Irish Sea the skipper confirmed: “Conditions have eased off and the average speed recorded by the high speed Orange II is now 25 knots over the past 24 hours.”

The damage to the rudder that occurred two days ago is causing concern for the team who are being careful not to take too many risks. While Peyron talked yesterday about how difficult it can be steering a powerful craft with a seriously damaged rudder, they also have another danger that is complicating matters for the crew of Orange II, as they approach land: the amount of shipping in visibility that is still not very good.

As the skipper reminded us this morning: “Apart from the first day, which was absolutely magnificent, we’ve been in the mist day and night.” According to Peyron they had a scare last night, which they mentioned in a terse message from the boat: “I forgot to say -just missed a cargo ship late this afternoon in the mist. A red Norwegian boat appeared out of the mist just as the radar gave the warning. Sailing under gennaker at 30 knots, they were doing 20 knots, so we were getting closer and closer at 50 knots. We rolled up the gennaker, had to bear away as fast as possible, and we were within 100m of each other. Then we hoisted the gennaker again.”

The final hours of watch will be tough for a crew that has already given so much, and they need to find the energy this morning to prepare for the final sprint.