Third reef needed on Geronimo

As conditions worsen for big tri in the Southern Ocean

Wednesday February 5th 2003, Author: Grands Records, Location: Transoceanic
Geronimo continues to make headway through the Indian Ocean in biblical sea conditions that combine a westerly swell, waves from the northwest and wavelets and wind from the west-southwest. “The squalls are travelling at over 60 knots the sea is strong and wild, with waves making 30 knots. It’s virtually impossible to get anywhere in this sea – it’s an incredible boat breaker” reports the skipper.

Under 3-reefed main and staysail, the trimaran is struggling hard to keep her bows out of this grasping sea and is already considering how best to position herself for the attack on the Pacific. The crew tried shaking out one reef to match the boat’s power to the speed of the waves, but in one squall earlier today, the trimaran peaked at over 40 knots in a very broken sea. There was little choice but to take the reef again and curb Geronimo’s speed once more. At these speeds, the sea becomes almost unsailable and the risk of serious failure rises to too dangerous a level.

On the advice of their router and weather guru, the crew will not venture further south than the 47th parallel, where the sea is completely chaotic. “Further south than that and we’d be massacred” says Olivier de Kersauson.

Several thousand kilometres of high winds still await Geronimo.The two low pressure systems that triggered the current sea state will cause the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric crew many long and difficult days yet.

However, the weather forecasts stop short of the terrible, there are no equipment failures to report at present and everything continues to work well on board. The only thing for it is to “bribe Father Christmas to change the weather”, as the skipper told his shore crew earlier this afternoon.

At 15:00 GMT today, Geronimo was 313 nautical miles from the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, the second great cape of the Jules Verne Trophy course. She should pass it sometime tomorrow.

Position data, Grand Records

Geronimo's position : Day 25 at 03:00 GMT
Latitude Longitude / Distance in 24hr / Average speed / Distance from Cape Leeuwin
Geronimo 44°25S, 102°48E / 448 nautical miles / 18.67 / 455 nautical miles Orange 45°13S,69°50E / 315 nautical miles / 13.13 / 1676 nautical miles
The boat's position at 15:00 GMT today
45°15S, 107°45E
Distance travelled in 12 hours : 216 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 18.04 knots

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