Geronimo off

Olivier de Kersauson's G Class tri sets sail on Jules Verne Trophy attempt

Saturday January 11th 2003, Author: Grands Records, Location: none selected
The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Schneider Electric trimaran crossed the Jules Verne Trophy start line between Ushant and Lizard Point at 03:00:39 GMT, Saturday 11 January 2003.

Olivier de Kersauson and his crew must be back to cross the line again by 11:36:33 GMT on16 March if they are to beat the record of 64 days, 8 hours, 37 minutes and 24 seconds set by Bruno Peyron and the crew of the maxi catamaran Orange.

The giant Brest-based trimaran crossed the line at over 25 knots running before a north-north-easterly blowing at between 20 and 25 knots. The WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council) officials started their stopwatches from the Créac’h lighthouse, specially opened for the occasion by the French Navy.

Geronimo left Brest at a few minutes after midnight to be at the start line by 4 o’clock this morning (French time) to catch the tide as it turned. The crew was seen off from the quay by quite a crowd, including François Cuillandre, the Mayor of Brest and an ardent supporter of Geronimo. All 11 crewmembers seemed perfectly calm in the small hours of the morning.

The forecast wind strength of between 20 and 27 knots for the early hours of this morning seems to have been correct. “All the data we’ve collected and studied over the past few months has created a picture of very changeable conditions, capable of developing in a number of ways. The framework of the current weather system seems reasonably stable. But given our experience in recent months, we mustn’t get too excited. All we can be certain of is that there is a weather window and that the trade winds are blowing between the Canaries and Cape Verde. It seems to make sense at the moment”, explains the skipper.

The new mainsail, which was tested yesterday to check its cut and stresses, met with the full approval of the crew. “The sail has a pretty good cut – it’s flatter than the previous one, which is what we wanted”.

“We’re very happy to get underway, because we’ve been waiting for a long time... Given that we’re absolutely ready for this and the weather windows seem likely to stay open until March, we’re not under any pressure. We can give it a try and even come back if we need to”, concluded Olivier de Kersauson.

Geronimo’s course for the Equator will be more westerly than usual, to avoid the oil slicks released by the tanker Prestige.

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