Bruno Peyron's boat sails gingerly up the Atlantic

Tiptoeing into the North Atlantic, there is only a 50-50 chance of the giant catamaran Orange completing its course around the world. Earlier in the week, Bruno Peyron and his crew had been on schedule to lop five days off the 71-day record set by Olivier de Kersauson in 1997.

They then discovered a huge crack in the titanium ball on which sits the heel of the towering, swivelling wing mast. A carbon fibre cast was hurriedly applied to the ball joint, but that has also hidden from view any further degradation. To put as little stress as possible on the joint, the crew elected to take a detour to the west which would cost them two days.

The next three days will be under strict surveillance… Indeed, the maxi-cat Orange is continuing to progress in a NE trade wind, that’s to say fairly close to the wind and it should take them as far as the edge of the Azores high which is less than 1,000 nm to the north before turning towards Ushant.

In the meantime, the Marseilles Giant has to beat into this wind, trying to limit stress on the damaged mast rotation ball to a minimum. But the course they’ve been on for several days is good, very good. Because once they reach the high, they will be able to ease the sheets and make a dash for Ushant, the terminal of this circumnavigation.