Peyron back for round world challenge
LONDON, England -- A crew of 14 on a giant catamaran are embarking on a round-the-world race for the Jules Verne Trophy.
French multihull skipper Bruno Peyron and his crew was leaving Brest, southwest France, in Orange, a 33.5m (110ft) catamaran, hoping for favourable weather off Ushant. The starting line is between Ushant and the Lizard in Cornwall, England.
They were due to slip their lines on Thursday morning.
Peyron was the first holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, the non-stop race, in 1993, sailing the 26m (85ft) catamaran Commodore Explorer in a time of 76 days, 6 hours and 13 minutes, beginning and ending in Ushant.
In 1997, Olivier de Kersauson, the current Jules Verne Trophy holder, set a new record in 1997 of 71 days, 14 hours and 22 minutes with the 24m (75ft) trimaran Sport Elec.
De Kersauson will sail his new 34m (110ft) maxi trimaran Geronimo in this year's race and Peyron is excited about competing in different boats.
"This will be the first true confrontation between two hulls and three hulls of this new generation of maxi multihulls," he said.
"We will have a match between the largest racing trimaran and catamaran in the world."
Kersauson is in Brest with Geronimo, but a setback when the carbon mast broke in early December means that a new mast will not be ready until Monday and may not sail until Wednesday at the earliest.
It was hoped that the two giant multihulls would start together, but Peyron's weather expert identified a favourable pattern on Wednesday.
"We're starting first," said Peyron. "It is not my preferred choice because of the two possibilities I would rather be the hunter than the hunted.
"I wish Olivier and his crew a fair wind. In order of importance, our first objective is to come back to Brest as fast as possible, try to lower the time round the world by sailing as fast as possible, then beat Olivier and his crew."
Both boats are capable of taking several days off the current 71-day Jules Verne record and De Kersauson believes that less then 60 days should be possible.
Such is the speed potential of this new generation of maxi multihulls, if all goes well they will be back in France by April, passing the fleet of Volvo 60ft monuhulls on the way.
The fastest 24-hour run posted by the Volvo 60 foot yachts so far is 464 nautical miles. The monster multihulls have already covered 670 miles in a day and it is possible that one of the two current Jules Verne contenders will top a 700 mile day.
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