Next stop Equator

De Kersauson's maxi-tri continues her descent south

Wednesday February 20th 2002, Author: Geronimo, Location: Transoceanic
Like a stampeding mustang, Geronimo, Olivier de Kersauson's Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Schneider Electric-sponsored trimaran has been devouring the miles at a fearsome rate since leaving the start line off Ushant early on Monday morning. Led by the present holder of the Trophée Jules Verne, the crew passed Lisbon at around midday yesterday as they continued to find their feet at sea.

Their only problem to date has been a broken genniker halyard on the first day, which de Kersauson said they dealt with swiftly.

Aeolus, the god of the wind, still seems to be smiling on Olivier de Kersauson. In favourable weather conditions dominated by strong and sustained northerly winds, the skipper from Finistére has averaged over 21 knots since setting off. "It must be the fastest crossing of the Bay of Biscay I've ever done and I'm happy that the crew is really finding its feet on board. For the moment though, we're not 'driving' the boat too hard because I think that it'll take at least three days for the crew to really feel at home with her.

"We're doing well, but we must still bear in mind that we're finding our feet, running in the new mast and haven't done a lot of sailing over the last couple of months," her skipper continued. But despite de Kersauson's understandable prudence, Geronimo has still covered 511 miles in her first day at sea at an
impressive average speed of 21.29 knots!

When you realise that Geronimo can carry 1000sqm of sail, her current performance certainly makes you think, and as Kersauson explained during his daily radio transmission; "In training we achieved some amazing runs in terms of pure speed, but we weren't timing ourselves then".

It's clear that the crew are, for the time being, holding back from exploiting the fantastic speed potential of their powerful 34m trimaran. It's an attitude that speaks volumes about what we can expect later in this circumnavigation. And as Olivier de Kersauson wisely stresses, "We've still got a long way to go" and the adventure has only just begun. The first objective will soon be appearing on their horizon: the equator.

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