Frenchman Bruno Peyron and his crew on board the maxi-catamaran Orange II completed a voyage for the history books on July 6 by demolishing the record for a trans-Atlantic crossing with a final time of four days, eight hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds. In the process they also sailed two record-breaking 24-hour runs. Despite an iceberg impact that damaged a rudder and forced the boat to slow down for more than six hours, the team completed the course from New York to Lizard Point off of Great Britain more than nine hours faster than the five-year standard set by legendary Steve Fossett aboard his cat PlayStation. A few moments after the finish Peyron remarked, “It all feels a bit strange. It’s as if we only set out from New York yesterday.”
Despite the encounter with a submerged iceberg, the team managed to maintain an average speed surpassing 28 knots. Roger Nilson, Orange II’s navigator said, “It’s true that for this record you need a bit of luck. But it’s great to have a well-prepared boat, a highly skilled crew and a good opening in the weather.”
The 3,100-nautical mile trip added the trans-Atlantic record to the team’s accomplishments, which include the fastest around- the-world time and the best 24-hour run.
Orange II finished the longest run in 24 hours ever sailed on July 3, completing 752 miles at an average speed of nearly 31.3 knots; the team went on to break the 24-hour record a second time, sailing a reported 766 miles.