Slow going for Geronimo

As Olivier de Kersauson's negotiates the South Atlantic high

Monday February 24th 2003, Author: Rivacom, Location: Transoceanic

Red square = Geronimo, Red X = Orange. Compare 0300 24 Feb positions with Orange d44. Image courtesy of Raymarine

Day 44 Position 24hr run Av speed Rel position
Geronimo 42°15S 51°50W 352nm 14.90 +207nm
Orange 48°20S 47°22W 504nm 20.99 -

Geronimo's position at 13:00 GMT today: 40°08S - 49°48W
Distance travelled in 10 hours : 157 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 10 hours: 13,06 knots

Geronimo, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric sponsored trimaran is now making gentle headway towards the Equator. On her 44th day at sea, Geronimo has entered the Roaring Forties, as Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew head north with only 12 knots of wind on the anemometer this morning off the coast of Patagonia. This region covers the southernmost tip of South American and is shared by Chile and Argentina.

"We have average, not to say mediocre, winds at the moment - and right on the nose," commented skipper Olivier de Kersauson. "We must therefore be patient. This morning, the Schneider Electric watch used these quieter conditions to lower the mainsail and change the main track travellers, which were beginning to show some wear. The wind isn't sustained; it's just a series of gusts. We currently have a low pressure area to the north and we'll have to go through the middle of it later today. It's not very active, so we'll have to make the most of 15-16 knots of wind and small waves, neither of which is good for gliding. There's nothing really good about it at all. When we entered the South Atlantic, we knew that the route would be blocked by an enormous anticyclone. So we had no choice but to shadow the cost of South America, even though that's never a good idea because the currents aren't always in your favour".

Although it's difficult sailing in very extreme weather conditions, it can be just as difficult in slack winds. "What makes it worse is that the winds are variable," continues the skipper. "You're always trying to map the immediate weather situation to the future track of the boat. You never know exactly what speed you'll be able to make over the next 10 hours. The problems of positioning the trimaran in relation to micro-weather conditions like the depression we're now approaching is rather irritating. We're making 12 knots at the moment, but given this slack wind, we've decided to do some maintenance work today. Even if we lose half our speed, we're only losing half of a slow speed, so in the end, it's less of a loss".

Unlike Orange, which took a very easterly route, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric crew have decided to take a more direct one. "We didn't really have a choice. The ideal route would be to go eastwards to look for a way round, which is less penalising in the south. But there's no way. Unlike us, Orange was able to find one, as were ENZA and Sport Elec before her. Nevertheless, when we were on Lyonnaise des Eaux, we couldn't find an opening either. So we have no choice but to stick to the shortest route, even though the winds are not in our favour".

Having learned of Ellen's problems in her morning bulletin, Olivier de Kersauson gave the following reaction: "Dismasting is always a serious technical failure, with a potential to verge on the disastrous. Not only do you lose the mast, but the boat can no longer perform. The crew loses all hope because what it means is that the boat stops and it's the end of their Jules Verne Trophy attempt - for this year at least. Like all crews, the crew of Kingfisher2 have given their all to prepare their boat and race flat out. It's a sad thing to have happened, but I hope it won't put them off having another try next year".

Below showing Geronimo (marked by the * for her 1500 position) sailing upwind. A small depression building over Brazil is expected to head east tomorrow.

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