Two attempts at the Jules Verne Trophy have been carried out in the last few weeks, the first failing as a result of mechanical problems, the second now making its way toward the northwest African coast. The Trophy is awarded to the crew of a vessel that circles the globe fastest, named for the author Jules Verne and his book "Around the World in Eighty Days." The current Jules Verne record holder is French sailor Olivier de Kersauson, who sailed around the world in 1997 in just over 71 days.
Kersauson was attempting to break his own record when he sailed the trimaran Geronimo from Ushant off Brittany two weeks ago. However, he turned back "for safety reasons" off the coast of Brazil, as mechanical problems with the steering system made the vessel unmaneuverable.
The "maxi-catamaran" Orange, skippered by legendary sailor Bruno Peyron, departed Vannes in France on March 1 also to attempt the record race around the world against the clock. The vessel covered 500 miles in the first 24 hours, a feat that was described by the captain as being the sum of just 85 percent of the vessel's potential. He said he is playing it safe until the crew has every confidence in the boat's abilities. Follow progress online: www.maxicatamaran-orange.com.