Heading for the south

Geronimo makes the big South Atlantic turn

Wednesday January 22nd 2003, Author: James Boyd/rivacom, Location: Transoceanic
Above chart showing Geronimo's gradual swept round to her present southeasterly course. (Courtesy of Raymarine)

Having taken a wide berth to the west to avoid the sizable St Helena high, over the course of last night Geronimo made a gradual sweep around to her current southeasterly course which - all being well - should take her into the strong westerlies of the Southern Ocean.

Despite having for some while been 45 degrees off course, Geronimo is still ahead of Orange. In fact, on Day 11 of her record attempt, the giant trimaran is as far ahead as her virtual rival was on Day 13.

Olivier de Kersauson plays down their advantage: “It means nothing on a Jules Verne Trophy attempt. We may have progressed faster than Orange up to now, but we cannot afford to be complacent. But it’s true that we’re going well and everything on board is as it should be. The crew is motivated and focused. Despite the constant quest for speed, the atmosphere is good. Everyone is doing their jobs with no problem and there’s no time being wasted. We have plenty to keep us busy. We do have a small problem with a leaking seal around a forward hatch: it’s not serious, but it’s taking two crewmembers to sort it out. We’ve also been able to assess the damage done by the creature. There are two quite large marks, but the carbon fibre seems intact“.

On Orange's record breaking voyage they made slow progress getting down to the Southern Ocean and it was not until the Pacific that they were truly able to put the pedal to the metal, so it is likely that de Kersauson will still appear to be ahead of their record for some days yet.

Meanwhile despite their lead, Geronimo’s crew is not letting up. “Being at the helm demands sustained concentration. All the minutes spent not concentrating can add up to a lot of lost sea miles on a round-the-world trip”. Watch after watch, the crew takes it in turns to man the helm or manoeuvre the boat, “On Geronimo, everyone has to know how to do everything”.

Interestingly from a navigation point of view, de Kersauson has taken a slight gamble with the weather, squeezing round the southwest side of the predominant South Atlantic high, just before a smaller high pressure is engulfed by it as it moves in from the south west.

Day 11 0300 positions 24hr dist Av speed
Geronimo 29°51S 30°41W 495nm 20.61
Orange 21°36S 33°30W 435nm 18.13

The boat's position at 15:00 GMT today (16:00 local time): 32°13S, 26°34W
Distance travelled in 12 hours : 255 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 21.24 knots

* was Geronimo's position at 1500. This forecast is for 1800 today showing a high pressure system to the southwest trying to merge with the much larger high pressure system to the east. At present there are good northwesterlies.

At midnight tonight (GMT)

At 0600GMT tomorrow morning the door is beginning to close

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