The 110ft maxicat Orange, formerly Innovation Explorer, has been sea trialing since 29 December and skipper Bruno Peyron is encouraged by the boat's performance

Preparations for Bruno Peyron’s next attempt at the 71-day Jules Verne record are well underway and the 110ft maxicat Orange, formerly Innovation Explorer, is sea trialing. The twenty-strong shore team, headed by former Whitbread skipper Alain Gabbay and including mini sailor Gilles Chiorri and ocean racing stalwart Hervé Jan, has brought the boat back to her best and now it falls to Peyron to work her up into a world beater.

The boat slipped her lines at La Ciotat on 29 December and headed out gingerly into 20-25 knots of breeze with a single-reefed mainsail and staysail. “Each sail change was followed by a general check-up,” said Peyron. “We have been managing the boat’s rise in pressure slowly and progressively so that we can observe her slightest reactions. We shook out a reef, then at day’s end we tried the new solent jib, which allowed us to approach 30 knots on the clock already, without forcing.”

In addition to sea trials, Peyron will be finalising the crewlist for his Jules Verne attempt. Chiorri has already been appointed boat captain and Jan is likely to start also. Orange may attempt some sort of speed record passage to Corsica but, barring serious damage, she will begin her Jules Verne attempt from Marseilles on 22 January.