Picking up a new low

Fresh breeze for Geronimo as she bowls on towards the Horn

Monday February 17th 2003, Author: Rivacom, Location: Transoceanic
Day 37 Position 24hr run Av speed Rel pos
Geronimo 53°01S 118°11 403nm 16.83 +1,015nm
Orange 52°57S 148°53E 557nm 23.21 -

Geronimo's position at 15:00 GMT today (16:00 French time): 52°16S 110°37W
Distance travelled in 12 hours: 279.6 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 23.3 knots

As forecast, Geronimo, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric sponsored trimaran picked up winds from the north-north-west earlier today, thanks to a new low pressure system that is helping the crew to push eastwards and, eventually, south to Cape Horn. "We're staying on this relatively northerly track because one part of this depression is particularly deep, with winds over 50 knots due north. But we will have to go through it to round the Horn. Otherwise, everything is going well. We're making about 30 knots. For the last few hours - and it's only the second time since we entered the Southern Ocean - Geronimo is gliding pretty well, and it looks like it could last!".

Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew are currently being driven by a 35-knot wind. "We're very close on the wind with Geronimo running under her staysail and a single reef in the main. We're on constant look-out. Within the next twenty hours or so, the wind is forecast to be at right angles to us. It's impossible at the moment to predict what kind of sea that will create, or how we will deal with it. Beam winds and very high seas are not necessarily a very comfortable or safe combination. On the other hand, at this latitude, if we do have to go south through the storm, there's less risk of meeting any ice".

The crew are now beginning to feel the strain."The Pacific has been really hard and deceptive. Sadly, I don't think we've seen the last of it yet. There are some hard hours ahead. We'll be happy to reach the Horn soon. It's always a great satisfaction to know that you're heading back into less hostile latitudes. We've seen neither the beauty nor the magic of the Southern Ocean: only foul weather systems and mad seas. For once, it's a pleasure to be leaving it behind".

Since crossing the start line on 11 January, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric team has covered 17,000 nautical miles at an average speed of nearly 19 knots (arrived at by adding together the daily point-to-point distances).

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