Orange II has missed out on breaking the North Atlantic record by just 31 minutes and 12 seconds

Orange II has missed out on breaking the North Atlantic record by just 31 minutes and 12 seconds – 15 miles.

Forced, as he feared this morning, to come around to get back on a direct course, Bruno Peyron crossed the finishing line at 43 minutes and 56 seconds past 5 this afternoon (CET), in other words, exactly half an hour after his time was up. They completed the attempt in 113 hours 59 minutes 18 seconds. The 10 men still deserve the satisfaction of knowing the job was well done, as well as setting a new 24-hour record.

They believed it was possible right up to the end, and it was a great story. Never easing off, putting aside their tiredness and keeping their nervous tension under control, the 10 men aboard Orange II will have gone as far as the weather conditions would allow. Facing up to air flows making it necessary to make detours, they made up for this with their phenomenal speed, covering extra miles to remain within the time right up to the final lengths. Their efforts have been rewarded with a new 24-hour record (706.2 miles, awaiting confirmation from the WSSRC), crowning this pioneering crew, the first men to go beyond the 700 mile barrier.

Bruno Peyron’s reaction: “Looking at it from an overall point of view, there are more positive things than negative to look back on after this adventure. The result is beyond our hopes, bearing in mind that we set out after only a short period of ten days or so on stand-by. We set a new 24-hour record, reached a maximum of 39 knots, and apart from just a few minutes, equalled the reference time, in spite of a course that was much less favourable. The angles to the wind didn’t help us, especially at the end of the race, when we had to tack for an hour: strangely enough, we can see part of this unplanned, extra hour in the final result!

“We know that the boat, which we have learnt to control now, is capable of smashing the record… We pushed her all the way, and were ready to take some risks of course, as when you set yourself such a challenge, that is something you have to do: it is surprising that given these conditions we didn’t break anything at all, except for a key on the computer keyboard, and I’d like to say thanks now to the team, who got the boat ready, as they really did a wonderful job.

“We just won ourselves a gold medal for smashing the 24-hour record, and a silver medal too for achieving the second best time on the route and coming so close to the record, and that is something we can feel pleased about… And I can’t forget that in the annual position chart for giant cats, which was established in the framework of The Race and which will soon be back in the news, we must have leaped ahead! So, of course, we like to win, but there are no bitter feelings aboard, and we really believe we fully accomplished our mission.”

The crew are currently heading for La Baule, where they will have a short stopover before returning to Marseilles, the boat’s home port.