Orange II named...
Launched on 22nd December 2003 at the Multiplast shipyard in Vannes, the official naming ceremony of Orange II took place on 11th February in La Trinité-sur-Mer just a short distance from her birthplace. The naming honours being carried out by Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel, and five times World Formula 1 Champion Alain Prost. After having spent a month and a half of sea trials and preparation, Orange II is ready to conquer the Jules Verne Trophy.
Orange is eager to set out on this record attempt. Bruno Peyron, skipper of Orange II : "if a weather window opens up in the next few days, we shall get going. The boat and her crew are ready, in spite of the 6 short weeks we've had to prepare. We would have liked to set out at the same time as the others, but they didn't wait."
Steve Fossett on Cheyenne and Olivier de Kersauson on Geronimo have been at sea for 5 and 4 days respectively and are currently sailing in the latitudes of the Canary Islands and Madeira.
Going down in history
If the absolute circumnavigation record under sail is the privilege of big boats, Multiplast's name has long been up there since it was Bruno Peyron who, on board Commodore Explorer – a 85 foot catamaran designed by Gilles Ollier and built by Multiplast – was first to carry off the Jules Verne Trophy in 1993 in 79d 06h 15 mn. And Bruno took the trophy once again in 2003 in 64d 08h 34mn 24s on board the first Orange (108 feet), yet another design from the Gilles Ollier Design Team and built by Multiplast.
For the 2004 attempt, Multiplast is twice as attentive to the performance of the boats which will be an attempt in their quest for the Holy Grail in ocean racing, as the trimaran Geronimo (designed by Van Peteghem / Lauriot-Prévost) also came from the Multiplast shed in July 2001.
However, with Orange II, we are entering into a new era, with a boat which is much more powerful than those of the Orange I and Club Med generation (+ 60 %) ; and whose expected performance is that much higher.
A future-proof boat
Thanks to a rather low weight/length ratio, in early trials, Orange II turned out to be very speedy is light air and upwind. An important parameter for a circumnavigation where it is primordial to perform when the wind drops. American weather wizard Bob Rice, who did the routing for Enza and Sport Elec on this Trophy, confirms the need to "kill the light air" if they are to stand a chance of doing a decent time on their record attempt. Being able to sail fast and to sail close to the wind at the Equator, in zones where the winds are variables.
As announced, Orange II appears to have the necessary capacities. Franck Martin, from the Gilles Ollier Design team : " In a 10-knot wind, the boat can sail upwind at 12/13 knots. Boat speed can reach 18 knots when fetching, in other words 1.8 times the speed of the wind !"
This sort of performance can be explained – apart form the weight/length ratio – by a high rig and generous sail area, which enable Orange II to fly the windward hull very early – thereby reducing drag – and by the 'Incidences' sails which have been extremely well made. Bruno Peyron : "...this boat is a thoroughbred. She is extremely able. But we have not yet had the time to put her through her paces. What we can say though is that in terms of resistance, everything is fine. We've checked everything we could. As for performance, we shall see. But in any event, we won't be able to push her 100% straight away."
"No weather window is going to appear before 17th February", announced Pierre Lasnier, Geronimo's routeur. But Olivier de Kersauson is currently negotiating his way through a mousehole to pick up a good northerly flow.As for Orange II, she is now on stand-by.