de Kersauson goes Code Green

Geronimo set to leave Brest tonight on Jules Verne attempt

Friday January 10th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Olivier de Kersauson and his maxi trimaran Geronimo is set to leave the Arsenal in Brest harbour late tonight in order to cross the start line for their attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy tomorrow morning (Saturday).

For the last five days Olivier de Kersauson and his crew of relative 'unknowns' have been watching the weather as they finalise their preparations for the voyage, loading food, a new Cuben fibre sail, while keeping a keen eye on the weather.

This will be the French skipper's second attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy aboard Geronimo. The first attempt on his maxi-trimaran ended last March when her single central rudder began to cavitate severely. She has since been worked on heavily and de Kersauson believes he has the problem solved.

The high pressure system (see image below) that is currently parked over the UK bringing clear but freezing conditions will also provide Geronimo with useful following winds and a flat sea to get them out of the Bay of Biscay. Then it will be important for Geronimo to get her skates on in order to avoid the affects of the Azores high that will be extending across to Spain by Monday.

While the possibility of match racing Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher2 may have existed, Geronimo leaving now gives de Kersauson the option of returning to Brest to restart again this season should his maxi tri experience further problems or poor conditions.

Sailing with de Kersauson will once again be his loyal long term lieutenants, watch leaders Yves Pouillaude and Didier Ragot. On Pouillaude's watch is Marc Le Fur, Antoine Deru, Stanislas Devorsine, Pascal Blouin, while on Ragot's Schneider Electric watch is Franck Ferey, Rodolphe Jacq, Jean-Francois Fouché, Pierre Corriveaud.

Among this relatively unknown crew - Marc Le Fur was part of de Kersauson's Sport Elec crew that set a new Jules Verne Trophy time in 1997 while Figaro sailor Rodolphe Jacq crewed for Herve Laurent's Transat AG2R winner last year.

Forecast wind and pressure chart for Saturday morning (see the Bracknell chart here )

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