Geronimo past Finisterre

De Kersauson's tri is on fire as she leaves the Bay of Biscay in her wake

Tuesday February 19th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Driven by a strong northerly 25 knot breeze, Geronimo has galloped across the Bay of Biscay and is now out past Finisterre.

13 hours after crossing the start line off Ushant, Olivier de Kersauson's huge grey trimaran had travelled 299 nautical miles at an average speed of 23.2 knots; a speed the crew were able to maintain as they passed Cape Finisterre, the most north westerly point of Spain.

"We're really moving along and making good headway," said Yves Pouillaude. Geronimo has watches named after sponsors (a good idea!) and Pouillaude runs the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young watch while de Kersauson's other long term crewman Didier Ragot runs the Schneider Electric watch. Ragot at the time of the conversation was off watch.

With the weather forecast still looking good and getting better, the crew of Geronimo are now striking due south down the coast of Portugal on a course to Madeira, which they should pass to port.

Yesterday Olivier de Kersauson could hardly hide his delight some hours after crossing the Trophée Jules Verne start line. "As Pierre Lasnier forecast, the change in the weather was just right for us, with the wind freshening quickly from 13 knots to over 20. We were on track and quite near the start line and passed over it just as the cold front arrived. Everyone was on deck at the time, both watches having had three hours' sleep before the start".

"This is the reality," the famous French sailor and radio star continued. "Until now, we've been in a kind of virtual world, beginning with all the thought processes and moving on through the preparation. Every metre we cover now brings us closer to the finish line and every second counts."

Happy with Geronimo¹s performance, the skipper said that the sustained northerly wind had allowed him to plot a direct course over a virtually flat sea. When asked about the possible finish date, he stuck to his guns and replied: "We'll do the job first and talk about it afterwards. I'll know how long this circumnavigation will take once I¹ve crossed the finishing line".

First Vendee Globe winner Titouan Lamazou was in the lighthouse on Ushant to watch the start. "I'm in complete agreement with those who describe Olivier de Kersauson as the last of the white tigers. He shares the free spirit of all true global adventurers and he's the only and rightful heir to Eric Tabarly". De Kersauson for many years was Tabarly's second in command and took part in many races including the Whitbread round the World race.

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