Bruno Peyron's new maxi-cat Orange II will be on stand-by for a Jules Verne start from 15 February

Since her launch on 22 December 2003, Bruno Peyron’s maxi-catamaran Orange II has been put through her paces in preparation for a Jules Verne Trophy attempt. Peyron hopes to shatter the record time of 64 days, 8 hours, 35 minutes, 24 seconds he set in 2002 sailing Orange I.

The new maxi-cat is currently in the process of being optimised and will be on standby for a possible start from15 February, after her christening ceremony at La Trinité sur Mer on 11 February.

Chatting about the his new multihull, Peyron said: “We sailed recently in stronger wind and sea conditions, in order to validate the choices made for the sail plan once and for all. We also had to finish working on details of the deck layout, on the mast foot and on deck hardware. The first technical evaluation is positive; everything is going well as far as structure, sails and deck hardware are concerned. There’s still a bit of work to be done on the deck layout, and we need to optimise the rudder systems, as well as the rudder blades.

“The boat sails well and fast; I reckon she’s faster than Orange I upwind, and her passage in waves is very satisfactory. It’s the result of all the work we did on the hull shapes and on the overall power potential with Gilles Ollier’s team. This catamaran seems to be cleverly designed, her dimensions are bigger then her predecessor’s which makes things a bit tougher – but that’s not surprising for such a big boat. I’ve always said that a boat over 50ft is a challenge for a crew of little bipeds like us, so with this one, we’ve reached another dimension.

“It takes method to sail it properly, because with such a powerful, heavy and fast machine, no mistakes can be made. We have to be cautious! But I’m not worried, a lot of time can be spared on our learning curve thanks to the fact that an important part of the crew has already sailed aboard Orange I. To make a boat this big race-ready in six weeks is not an easy task, and the only way to achieve that is to work with people who know each other and bring complementary expertise.”

In the meantime, the unfavorable weather system has forced Steve Fossett and team aboard Cheyenne to abandon plans for a Jules Verne start today. See previous news story here.