Concentration was the watchword for Captain Peyron, when he rounded the Horn for the third time in his life. The first time was during the first round the world voyage in less than 80 days. That was back in 1993 at the helm of Commodore Explorer. The second time was in 2002, when he won back the Jules Verne Trophy with the crew of the first Orange. For this third great voyage, it was in an incredible time of just 32 days, 13 hours and 29 minutes since starting out from Ushant that he finished with the Pacific Ocean. However, it was not because Orange II had more than a week’s lead over the outright record around the world that the skipper and his crew could ease off or let the stress disturb their work to the south of the American continent.
«The atmosphere was very studious for this rounding of the Horn, as we had a lot of manoeuvres to do to get by the islands off South America,» explained Bruno Peyron last night as his cat crossed the longitude of Cape Horn. «The weather is not very good. There’s no excitement on board at all. We’re all aware that there’s a trap around Cape Horn, as you tend to ease off, and it’s not the time to do that. As we are all professionals on board, who understand that, there is no particular stress, but we’re all remaining concentrated.»
No time for any contemplation, as concentration was the order of the day, especially considering the hostile environment in this place and the weather forecast, which was announcing very violent winds over the coming hours. «We weren’t really able to take advantage of the scenery, even if we were very close to the De Fonso Islands near the mountains of Chile. We gybed afterwards. It was very overcast, with dark skies, full of contrasts, a black and white picture, with drizzle and squalls. An atmosphere rather like Northern Scotland in mid Winter or the south of South America at the moment!»
< br />Orange II then got on a bearing for the Lemaire Straits, where they remained becalmed for twenty or thirty minutes. There is still a long way to go to cover the South and North Atlantic to reach Ushant. A year ago, Cheyenne took more than ten days to reach the Equator. That is also what Peyron and Roger Nilson envisage. «To head back up to the Equator, it will take us around ten days. But it’s going to be rather hit and miss, as we’re going to have to pass through several weather systems up the South American coast. We know they are extremely volatile, and we can only see clearly what lies ahead for the coming 4 or 5 days.»
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