The pace slows

As Geronimo hits light winds in the South Atlantic

Sunday February 23rd 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic

Above: Red squares = Geronimo, Red cross = Orange. Compared 0300 23 Feb position with that of Orange d43. Courtesy of Raymarine.

Day 43 Position 24hr run Av speed Rel position
Geronimo 47°18S 56°04W 296 12.33 +340nm
Orange 52°47S 58°36W 401 16.70 -

Geronimo's position at 13:00 GMT today: 45°24S - 55°07W
Distance travelled in 12 hours : 121 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 12,10 knots

After 43 days of exceptional progress, Geronimo, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric sponsored maxi trimaran covered just 296 nautical miles point-to-point today, as South Atlantic weather conditions continues to prevent the crew making anything approaching rapid progress towards the Equator. As a result she is now only 340nm miles ahead of Orange's progress.

The eastward option seems out of the question, since it adds considerably to the distance and is no better above 35° South. Only the direct route, with its slack irregular winds, remains. Its only advantage at present is that it is the shortest way home. This is a similar type of predicament which faced Bruno Peyron on Orange's circumnavigation last year while negotiating this part of the course. Then Peyron too was forced to cross the South Atlantic high. Geronimo's abilities in low wind conditions are now vital if they are to maintain their record breaking pace. Fortunately the trimaran configuration, with less wetted surface area than a cat, should be a little more slippery in these conditions.

It should also be noted that giant multihulls are able to make their own wind, so they never completely stop. Remarkably, despite the light conditions Geronimo continued to make around 12 knots north in slack and unstable winds.

"A long day of calms, sun and banks of haze," commented skipper Olivier de Kersauson. "The very soft blue of the sea is a unusual sight for the lookout sitting on the front beam to warn the helmsman of drifting rafts of dense algae. Geronimo is in the South-North Falklands current, which drags icebergs as far north as Montevideo. The calm and silence means there's not much to say about today, and no doubt the same will be true of tomorrow. Our route to the north is closed.

"There's no point brooding over time slipping away. We mustn't think about the Jules Verne or positions…especially not about positions. We have to tell ourselves that it's a nice spring day at sea and that we'll do our best to go as fast as we can with the few sighs of wind we have. We're also telling ourselves that it's fate, normal even, because you can't go all the way around the world without running into calms. And after all, Geronimo is unrivalled in slack winds. We have to make the most of the boat's talent and the application of her crew, adjusting our trim constantly to gain a quarter of a knot, then another, and never, never going below to look at the chart table to bite your nails as you look at the course."

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