After the 24 h record smashed last August, (706.20 miles covered at an average of 29.42 knots) and the new Mediterranean record set last week in 17h 56mn and 33s (an average of 25.53 knots reaching up to more than 41 knots), the Orange II maxi-catamaran has confirmed all her potential. It is time now to get her ready for the next legs of the programme, which begin with some celebrations in Marseilles.
The giant Orange II will indeed be present this weekend, on the sidelines during the Marseilles Provence Multihull Grand Prix and several well known sporting figures, such as Alain Prost, 4 times Formula 1 world champion, Laure Manaudou, recent swimming gold medallist in the Athens Olympics, as well as several OM players.
As early as next week, the giant will leave her homeport in Marseilles to head for her technical base in Lorient, where she will be prepared for a new attempt at setting the Jules Verne this Winter…
A look back at a speedy record
The superlatives simply pour out of Bruno Peyron’s mouth, when he talks about his most recent record in the Med : “It was great from a personal and sporting point of view. It was violent, intense, pure speed with an exceptional boat and an exceptional crew. The wind and sea conditions were perfect, the light was splendid, and everything came together… The beauty during those moments at sea is partly linked to the performance of the men on board and partly to the machine. They are simple, Epicurean pleasures to savour at every moment, in spite of the tiredness. The way it is done is also important. You have to manage to push the boat even faster in difficult wind and sea conditions, to make it go forward more and more. We regained our confidence in this boat, which had given us a few worries before. It was the first time we had sailed with one of the new rudders, and that considerably improved keeping the boat on track, at high speed. The second rudder will be fitted here in Marseilles, so we can use it on our way back up the Atlantic next week”.
A few scares on board…
The crossing was quick, but not without a few scares. Bruno Peyron: “In fact, we came smashing down three times fairly violently, but paradoxically, it was less dramatic than on the previous Orange, which could be slowed right down from 35 knots to 15 knots. With Orange II, we go now from 30 knots down to 20 knots. The braking is less violent, as the boat forces its way into the wave. The second scare was more intense: we swung right around in a 35-knot wind. We were forced to shake out the mainsail very quickly, which caused the sheets to come out of the pulleys. Then, we had to repair the damage climbing out the boom with 40-knot gusts, which is quite dangerous…”
A versatile crew
“…It should be pointed out that this record was achieved with a few from the technical staff, as some of the racing team were out on Grand Prix events. I’m very attached to this feature of our team, when we sail as often as possible with those, who would normally be back on dry land, and it certainly seems to pay off, as everyone did their job magnificently. For the Jules Verne, we will look particularly closely at the quality of the helmsmen. When you know that at high speeds the difference between a good and excellent helmsman can mean 4-5 knots extra speed, it makes quite a difference when you add up all the miles to the finish. I shall therefore be drawing up a team with at least 6 very talented helmsmen (two in each watch)”.
Alain Prost and Laure Manaudou as guest stars this weekend
We were lucky to achieve the Mediterranean record within a week of our arrival in Marseilles. That allows us to continue with the programme of events as planned. We shall be on the sidelines of the Multihull Grand Prix in Marseilles this weekend with our partners and guests, and it should be a great event. I’ll have the pleasure of handing over the helm of Orange II to Alain Prost and Laure Manaudou, and to several players from the Olympique de Marseilles football club, who will be on board on Sunday”.
“We’ll be setting out from Marseilles next week and back in our technical base in Lorient, with the aim of being in dry dock between the 15th and 20th October for a complete check up. We remain very realistic and cautious about the next stages of the programme, as our records were set on short distances. For the next bit, things are very different. The boat was built to smash all the different ocean records. Clearly, these last few weeks have shown that we have the right equipment to carry out this wager successfully. She seems to be fully reliable, but we must not get carried away, as even if we our confidence has been building, you must keep a clear head to avoid making any stupid mistakes. So we really have to keep an eye on that from now on, as the forthcoming overhaul is a complete one, and we will have to take everything apart, then put it back together again, which is a long meticulous piece of work to get the boat ready (rigging, paintwork, sails, chandlery,… ), then there will be a test sail to check everything is working and get the crew ready for the big trip around the world”.
Orange II during the Trans Med Record
Photo: Gilles Martin Raget
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