Orange skipper Bruno Peyron confirmed yesterday – a year to the day after Club Med won The Race - that his recently repaired mast will be restepped on Friday
Just two weeks after a sheared masthead brought his Trophée Jules Verne attempt to an abrupt end, Bruno Peyron is ready to go again. The 110ft maxicatamaran Orange, known as Innovation Explorer when she competed in The Race 2000, is ready to receive her mast tomorrow.
Technicians at the Multiplast yard in Vannes (where Orange and her two sisterships from The Race were built) decided to save the trimmed masthead, rebuild the four-metre section from the masthead to the hounds, bond the lot together and then test the integrity of the section with ultrasound.
“The repair is reliable because we know how to master composite materials,” said Orange’s designer Gilles Ollier. Of the original breakage, Ollier said: “There are several pointers that might explain what caused the breakage. Any one of them could be the right one, but we can’t put the finger on any of them for certain.”
Despite estimating 18 days for this work, Ollier’s Multiplast yard has turned the job around in just 12. “We’ve got all the elements together today for Orange to show up on Saturday morning off Ushant on the Jules Verne Trophy starting line, ” said Peyron at yesterday’s press conference. He and his Boat Captain and weather specialist Gilles Chiorri are already looking for potential windows.
“On inspection of various weather models, a “window”, that’s to say a corridor of favourable winds will be establishing itself on our route off Ushant on Saturday between 0600 and 1200.” The window would lead them to trade winds zones currently forming off the Canaries, making their progress south seamless. “It’s a chance to grab,” added Chiorri. “We must restep the mast on Friday, leave Vannes that evening on the tide, and we will be on the line on Saturday morning.”
Peyron is straining to get going and start eating into the 12-day headstart handed to Olivier de Kersauson’s 110ft maxitrimaran Geronimo when Orange’s masthead broke. “So fate finally decided that we should start after Geronimo, as the ‘hunter’. The evolution of the weather systems close to the Equator could finally turn to our advantage.”
The only fly in their otherwise insect-free ointment is the whereabouts of their standing rigging. The shrouds and cap shrouds were sent to their American manufacturer, when the mast was unstepped, for a thorough check up. They should be back tomorrow but if they’re not, Peyron has other ideas.
“If the worst comes to the worst” he said, “we will restep the mast with the old rigging and change the shrouds and cap shrouds one by one.”