The maxicat Innovation Explorer - renamed Orange – is preparing for a crack at the 71-day Jules Verne record

The 110ft maxicat Orange is in the final stages of refit in the French shipyard of La Ciotat, preparing for a February start to an assault on the Jules Verne record.

Orange, the boat that Loick Peyron skippered into second place in The Race as Innovation Explorer, is now in the hands of Bruno Peyron. Onboard Commodore Explorer, Bruno was the first skipper to break the mythical 80-day barrier in 1993.

A year later, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and the late Sir Peter Blake lowered the record still further before Olivier de Kersauson’s five-year assault on the record finally paid dividends and the record dropped to its current level – a little over 71 days.

“This new challenge is only the first phase of a project,” said Peyron, “the medium and long term goal of which is to launch the design and construction of a new giant multihull for The Race 2004.”

Orange is expected to embark on sea trials before the end of the year from her base in Marseilles. During the sea trials, Peyron will decide which of the sailors at his disposal will form the dozen that make the trip. All are expected to be veterans of The Race.

Peyron and his crew will be on stand-by from the end of January.