Preparing for the south
"We're about to change worlds: we're entering the Southern Ocean and it's far from being a forgiving place, " commented de Kersauson, for whom this is his 7th circumnavigation. "All the signs are there to be seen: the light, the wildlife - we've seen our first albatross - and especially the sea, Already it has a different pace and you can feel the swell of the southern seas rising. The light is sublime and the temperature is dropping. Yesterday it was summer - now it's spring. The wind is beginning to come back, but we're ready for it. At the moment, we have 20 to 25 knots of wind, but that will rise to 30 or 35 knots later."
Despite the last few hours of calm weather, during which Geronimo has once again shown how well she can perform in slack winds, the giant trimaran is now on the same latitude as the remote British outpost of Tristan Da Cunha. "Making progress in such dull conditions was a struggle - you have to pay close attention and manoeuvre a lot. Every sea mile brought us closer to the end of it, but it's still tiring and stressful".
Geronimo will enter the Roaring Forties tonight, but she's well prepared for the challenge. The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric watches have used the calm weather to run a complete check-up on the boat.
The Schneider Electric watch will be resting when they cross the 40th parallel. De Kersauson is insistent that everyone gets the rest they need. "Fatigue is the number 1 danger on a boat. I make sure that no one loses concentration or the ability to react properly, and that means that they have to sleep".
As the chart above shows, Geronimo is now more than 800 miles or roughly two days sailing ahead of Orange's record breaking circumnavigation last year - quite a margin at this early stage. Incredibly she has got from Brest to the Southern Ocean in just 12 days!
|Day 12 0300||Position||24hr distance||Av speed|
The boat's position at 15:00 GMT today (16:00 local time): 37°30S, 15°59W
Distance travelled in 12 hours : 139 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 11.57 knots