After hopes were dashed 10 days ago, it now seems that the situation is looking more promising for the Orange II maxi-catamaran, which has been patiently waiting in Newport to set sail on her Atlantic record attempt. The opening in the weather that was spotted by the watchful eyes of the team’s weather experts appears to offer them a chance of starting on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Europe).
“We should be setting out ahead of a front,” explained the skipper today, “with around a 25 to 30 knot south-westerly for the start… The only worry is that the high-pressure area off Ireland risks making things difficult for us at the end of the voyage, but it’s nowhere near as certain as ten days ago.” Ideally, the crossing would be done on a single tack, without the need to gybe, but they also need to avoid getting too far ahead of the weather system to keep up the pressure, so it is a very delicate balancing act. “It is possible that we could cross on a straight line, without gybing, but if it does become necessary to manoeuvre, I prefer to start out with 12 instead of 10 men. As far as the team sheet is concerned, the core members of the « Dream Team » from the Jules Verne will be present, even if we are sad to see some pillars like Yann Eliès and Sébastien Audigane missing out as they are unable to make themselves available. We’ll be taking on board a first-timer in the shape of Pascal Bidégorry (the skipper of the Banque Populaire trimaran), which is going be very interesting.” Interesting for everyone, for the Basque skipper is also launching his own maxi-multihull programme. He is obviously going to be extremely attentive and eager to gain some experience.
In terms of the logistics, Bruno Peyron has therefore set things in motion, and is planning for the crew to be in the air by noon, in order to reach the Orange II maxi in Newport as soon as possible. The technical team, which had stayed with the catamaran is already busy carrying out one final careening and removing all the unnecessary equipment (propeller blades etc.). ” We’ll be casting off from Newport on Saturday to head up to the starting line at Ambrose Light. From the way things look today, the start itself should occur sometime after midnight on Saturday, local time.”
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