Geronimo approaches the equator

Light winds peg the speed back to 'only' 16 knots

Sunday February 24th 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: Transoceanic

On Saturday, the maxi-trimaran Geronimo and her crew of eleven were still averaging almost 16 knots off the coast of Guinea-Bissau en route to the equator and the Southern Hemisphere.

Having managed to go flat out for the first four days after leaving the start line off Ushant in the early hours of Monday morning, Olivier de Kersauson and his crew have managed 'only' 380 nautical miles in the last twenty-four, battling to cope with winds of unpredictable strength and direction as they approach the Intertropical Convergence Zone: the infamous Doldrums.

This area is renowned for its alternating flat calms and violent squalls. It's a situation that really tests equipment and tries the nerve of the crew, all of whom need to be vigilant at all times. Changing sails, reefing sails, gibing and tacking have therefore become a constant way of life for the crew.

It now remains to be seen whether they will cross the equator this evening or, as seems more likely, in the early hours of Monday morning.

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