Bruno Peyron and his team aboard the 120ft catamaran Orange II maxi catamaran could be rounding Cape Horn on Friday, with a lead of six or seven days
Bruno Peyron and his team aboard the 120ft catamaran Orange II maxi catamaran could be rounding Cape Horn on Friday, with a lead of six or seven days over Steve Fossett’s Cheyenne see news story here . And in doing so are likely to grab two new south Pacific records.
They are still continuing to make excellent progress but have decided to track further north to avoid the heavy seas and, of course, ice. Although it will be a slightly longer course the team say the extra speed in the ‘flatter’ water will largely compensates for that.
The latest from the boat at 0430 this morning showed 34.2 knots of instantaneous speed, with an average boatspeed of 24 knots over the past 24 hours (covering 575 miles). A gybe at daybreak should put them back on a more direct route towards the Horn and, if all goes well, they should be tacking round the Horn tomorrow afternoon.
The forecast conditions for tomorrow are for 35kts of wind but things will start to liven up dramatically as they head up Atlantic. There’s currently a severe low pressure system in the south Atlantic with winds of 70kts expected.
Because there are not too many tactical options on offer for Peyron and his team right now, the plan is to step up the pace to round the Horn as early as possible and try to make their way closer to the coast, to avoid the worst of the conditions.
Commenting on the situation Peyron said: “It’s going to be a question of timing it right. If we round the Horn quickly, we may be able to get away by passing to the left of the Falklands. We may even stay alongside the coast passing inside the Lemaire Straits to avoid a battering off the Falklands. If we manage to do this, we should be getting good conditions to start the climb back up, and the three days following the Horn could be quite fast.”
Rounding the Horn tomorrow should allow Peyron to grab two new records in the south Pacific – Cape Leeuwin (Australia) – Cape Horn, and the official South Pacific record held since last winter by Fossett, for the journey between the south of Tasmania (the entry into the Pacific) and Cape Horn (entry into the Atlantic).
Peyron added: “It will of course be a great satisfaction to set a new record time for the Pacific crossing. We went fairly quickly thanks to the men, the machine and favourable weather conditions all coming together. Our strategy of alternating periods of attack and periods of consolidation is the right one and is paying off. This boat clearly has a potential way beyond what we could have imagined. We are now able to control her power and we have found out that we can push her even further than we thought.”