Cheyenne, Orange and Adrien are ahead of thier global record times. Meanwhile Geronimo heads back to Brest for a re-start

Steve Fossett and his 12-man crew aboard the 125ft maxi-cat Cheyenne currently attempting to break the world speed record have today, for the first time since the start 12 days ago, caught and passed the position Orange I was at this stage of the challenge. The improved and consistent north-easterly breeze has meant Team Cheyenne has been able to clock up the miles in the southern Atlantic and during the last 24 hours recorded 454nm (averaging 18.91kts).

Measuring ahead to the next probable course waypoint – South of Cape of Good Hope – (now slightly to the south of and well to the east of the ‘phantom’ position) they are approximately 95 miles ahead of Orange. Skipper Steve Fossett commented on moving ahead of the record pace for the first time:

“It is very encouraging to have recovered the lost time from our slow start. It shows that the record is achievable if we continue to sail well. We are now facing two or three days of challenging conditions, and might well fall back slightly over these next several days, but I am encouraged.”

Orange II is also clocking up the miles since her departure yesterday. In the first 23 hours she recorded 554 miles (averaging 23.1kts) which is slightly ahead of Orange I’s pace at this early stage of the challenge. The first milestone for Orange is the Equator where Peyron hopes to improve on his last challenge in Orange I which took seven days. Commenting on what lies ahead Peyron said: “For now we’re trying to get out of the North Atlantic zone which you mustn’t stay in for too long. How long it takes depends a great deal on the situation we find ourselves in behind the depression that we’re going to encounter tomorrow evening.”

Another new addition to the round the world race track is the Polish yacht Bank PBH(see photo above)which set off yesterday from Benodet in an attempt to set a fully-crewed, monohull, non-stop global record. Roman Paszke and his nine-man crew crossed the virtual line yesterday morning in a light breeze sailing the VO60 ex-Assa Abloy and clocked 286 nm in the first 24 hours doing an average speed of 11.9 knots.

Having had to retire from the Jules Verne Challenge just four days after the start see news story here Geronimo is still heading back to Brest and should arrive tomorrow. From here repairs and modifications will be made to the gennakers and provisions topped up onboard before the crew set off once again. If a decent weather window holds they should be off within a few days.

Last but not least mention must be made of Jean Luc van den Heede who continues to drive his 85ft aluminium cutter Adrien through thick and thin on a westabout direction round the world. Den Heede, who is on his fourth attempt at this singlehanded global record, set off on 7 November last year and now, after 104 days at sea, is 26 days and 7 hours ahead of the record. Currently heading towards the Equator Den Heede is experiencing Doldrum conditions. Commenting from the boat earlier today he said: I’ve just had a really bad night, with a breeze that was really too light and still with a heavy swell. This made my poor mainsail flap around, which although downwind, often picked up the wind on the wrong side. Some superstitious people may think that I shouldn’t have said yesterday that there wouldn’t be much of a Doldrums. Not one myself, I rather think that it was the result of a thunderstorm, which created havoc with my light trade winds for a few hours.

“Until 3 o’clock this morning, I tried to make headway as best I could with my asymmetrical spinnaker, then the wind got up a bit. I managed to get back into my bunk, after setting up my genoese with its pole… but that wasn’t to last long. As I had gone quite a way west over the past few days in order to take advantage of the “friendly” Doldrums, I was back on the course the cargo ships take coming up from Africa.

“My Simrad detector warns me of the presence of radar with an alarm, while the cargo ship is still out of sight, but when they aren’t going very fast and are on the same course as I am, the alarm can be triggered for several hours, so it is impossible to sleep. So I set my programmed radar to alert me to a six-mile zone around Adrien…and consequently, I slept in this morning!”

Position Report To break the current record of 151 days, 19 hours and 54 minutes, held by Philippe Monnet, van den Heede has to cross the Ushant finish line before 07hrs.16mins.01sec on 7 April 2003.