Atlantic Express for Orange II and 24 hour world record
Since 25 August 2004, Orange II has been the holder of the second best world performance for the Atlantic record of 4d 17h 59min 18s, just 31 minutes and 12 seconds astern of Steve Fossett's PlayStation. Bruno Peyron and his crew have just proven that the American's extraordinary time can be beaten.
Since leaving New York on 21 August 2004 in less than ideal weather conditions, the latest of the maxi catamarans built by Multiplast in Vannes (Atlantic), has really proven what it's made of. Yann Penfornis, from the Gilles Ollier Design Team
"...Orange II was designed for these long ocean runs. It is powerful enough and high enough off the water not to be stopped in its tracks by the waves in built-up seas. In the design and creation, we worked a great deal on its potential for maintaining high average speeds...". And the multihull proved that throughout the record attempt with its average speed rarely dipping below 30 knots.
706.2 miles in 24 hours
With these times, Orange II has not returned empty-handed from the Atlantic since it has taken back the world's 24 hour distance sailing record with 703, then 706.2 miles at an average of 29.42 knots (prior to ratification by the Wssrc). At the same time, Orange II became the first yacht in the world to exceed 700 miles in 24 hours. This was declared as a possible achievement during the launch of the boat, as 600 miles was for the previous generation with the winner of The Race, Club Med, when it covered 625 miles in June 2000. Similarly, we all remember at Multiplast, that the catamaran Crédit Agricole III designed by Gilles Ollier and built by the yard, was the first boat to rack up 500 miles in a single day.
In 20 years, and at almost double the size (65 to 120 feet), the Multiplast racing catamarans have increased the distance covered by 40 % (200 miles) and an average speed of nearly 30 % (+ 9 knots).
An exemplary reliability
Bruno Peyron : "...nous avons mené Orange II à 100 %. Il s'est très bien comporté, bien que nous ayons tiré très fort dessus. Nous n'avons strictement rien cassé...". Certes, l'énorme expérience de Bruno Peyron et de ses hommes est à prendre en compte dans la gestion du bateau en mer ; mais la fiabilité d'Orange II tient aussi beaucoup de sa conception et des credo du chantier. Gilles Ollier : "...dans l'ordre, les trois grands axes qui ont amené à la réalisation d'Orange II ont d'abord été fiabilité, puis ensuite vitesse et enfin manœuvrabilité. En voyant Orange II arriver sans le moindre souci après cette rude traversée, nous ne regrettons pas les études de structures menées en parallèle avec deux groupes d'ingénieurs afin d'effectuer un double contrôle pour valider nos options...".
31 petites minutes...
So little was needed for Multiplast to add a new Atlantic record to its track record. Since the creation of the yard in 1981, the record has been bettered 8 times, four of which were by Multiplast boats : Jet Services II (60 foot catamaran) in 1983 / 8d 16h 36mn, Royale II (78 foot Graal catamaran) in 1986 / 7d 21h 5mn 42s, Jet Services V (85 foot catamaran) in 1988 and 1990 / 6d 13h 3mn 32s. And it held onto the latter achievement for 13 years...During the prize giving for the naval architectural cup in 2001 for the architects of PlayStation Morelli and Melvin, Gilles Ollier declared : "...I am not sad to have lost the Atlantic reference time that our boats have beaten time and time again. I am happy that the title has gone to the Americans and that our rather French hegemony in ocean-racing multihulls has been dented. This performance will make us more imaginative in the creations of our boats so as we can take it back from the USA...".
Orange II has proven that it was up to the challenge. What remains is a new attempt for the giant catamaran, some favourable weather conditions and a hint of luck.