Geronimo closes on Horn

Conditions more bearable for the crew as the big left hand turn looms up.

Wednesday February 19th 2003, Author: Grands Records, Location: Transoceanic
Day39 Position 24hr run Av speed Relative pos
Geronimo 52°07S 88°46W 545 23 +758
Orange 56°04S 114°24W 604 25.18 -

Geronimo's position at 15:00 GMT today: 53°57S - 82°29W
Distance travelled in 12 hours : 252 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 21,00 knots
Speed at 15:00 UTC: 22,7 knots

Her 38th day at sea has been another good one for the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran, with 545 nautical miles covered at an average speed of 22.70 knots. The present north north-westerlies are allowing Oliver de Kersauson and his crew to plot a direct course south towards Cape Horn, driven by wind speeds of between 37 and 42 knots, gusting to 45.

"Geronimo is currently running with a two-reefed main and staysail. We're gliding well. The sea isn't too choppy. Not too vicious in any case. Until now, we've had really chaotic, mad seas, the only exceptions being when we passed the Kerguelens and the southern tip of New Zealand. At the moment the sea is more settled than high. The boat's doing well. Even though it's a bit lumpy sometimes, it's far from the biblical seas we've had. This is the friendly South. The sea is fairly long, so there's not much risk of burying the boat in a wave or getting swamped. Neither is it too irregular, or at least it's not too bad. Everything's going well despite a degree of tiredness and some of us back pain as well as a few bruises. The wave impacts sometimes throw you from one side to the other. Other than that, it's all going well".

Good nutrition is important in the Southern Ocean, where the physical effort is unremitting and bodies are called on to give their all every six hours. "It's an unusual level of physical effort, so you need good sleep and food to recover. The food here is excellent and really good quality. Fleury-Michon has done a great job. We're eating well and meals are well-balanced. We take vitamin supplements every day to make up for anything we might be missing. But I don't think we are actually missing out on anything, even though the work load is very high. We're being shaken about a lot, that's for sure. I don't think anyone on board has put on any weight. I can't say any more than that".

As they approach Cape Horn, the crew are feeling a degree of relief and once they round the cape, the risk of meeting ice will be even lower. "Nevertheless, we know that there are icebergs on the other side of the Horn. I've had a position for them on the read-out, above the continental shelf off the coast of Argentina. Naturally, we don't want to run into any more. Especially since a southerly warm air stream behind us means we have virtually zero visibility at the moment: 400 metres at most! We're watching the radar and the deck watch is keeping a regular lookout".

Now just 537 nautical miles from the legendary cape, Geronimo should round the Horn towards the end of tomorrow afternoon.

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