Record is on hold as the crew work together, braced for worse to come

Trapped in the gradient between a vast area of high pressure to the south and a ‘wall’ of low pressure ahead of them, there is still no rest for the crew of Orange. Skipper Bruno Peyron admits that they are in survival mode and that their attempt on the Jules Verne record has been put on hold as they try to prevent damage to the catamaran in what he describes as “boat-breaking seas”.

To make matters worse, communications have been reported as ‘hard to establish and of poor quality’. It was, however, just enough to confirm that the crew are still dealing with ’50-55 knot winds and a crappy sea.’

Their trouble is that a secondary low with south-easterly winds of 60 knots is forecast for Friday, and the Orange crew have few options for evading it. At present, they are cautiously making their way east, upwind, but will have to try to drop down in latitude to the Fifties. Shaping the right course will be difficult, as Peyron also needs to find a passage north of the Kerguelen Islands, a very narrow gap through which to slot the catamaran in these conditions.

Despite the communications problems, Peyron did, however, manage to convey the impression of a resolute crew. “It’s under these circumstances that you get to see if a group is going to hold tight or not,” he commented. “Of course, everyone endures. It’s hard thinking that with a good series of lows we could be doing 20 knots but we don’t have a choice.”