Nail biter

Conditions still not stacking up for Geronimo with four days left to go

Wednesday March 12th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Day 60 Position 24hr run Av speed Rel position DTF
Geronimo 32°45N 36°05W 406 16.90 +36nm 1658nm
Orange 35°59N 39°59W 497 20.69 - 1685nm

Geronimo's position at 15:00 GMT today 36°19N 33°41W
Distance travelled in 12 hours: 244.66 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 20.19 knots

Geronimo must finish by 16 March 11:38:03 to break Orange's record

The prospect of Geronimo breaking Orange's record for the Trophy Jules Verne is still not looking that hopeful, even though she is now marginally ahead of her virtual rival again (this is because - as the track shows above - Orange was forced a long way to the northwest before she could round the Azores high on her tour).

Since yesterday, Geronimo, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric sponsored trimaran has been back up to speed. As the forecast charts below show this doesn't look likely to last long as de Kersauson must work out how to cross the numerous remaining weather hurdles before his big tri crosses the finish line. These include crossing the band of light winds in the cigar shaped high pressure system running N-S over the Azores, a depression to the west of Spain and increasingly light east-eastsoutherlies approaching the finish - and generally little pressure throughout.

"By tomorrow midday, we'll be about 1050 miles from Ushant," says de Kersauson. "That will leave us 71 hours to cover the distance, which in turn means we'll have to average 14 knots to cross the line in time, but we're far from certain of being able to achieve that. Nevertheless, the boat can do it. Despite everything we've put up with so far, all we need is a little bit of air, but for the moment, we don't know exactly what we're going to get. At the moment, the weather for these last few miles of the course seems poor and rather variable.

Currently heading for the Azores under full main and gennaker, Geronimo is reaching peak speeds of 27 to 28 knots despite a small residual swell from the north. "For nearly 12 hours, we've had really good gliding conditions. Tonight we should pass between Flores and Fayal - about fifty miles off Fayal to avoid the relatively large wind shadow created by the height of the island. Whilst there's nothing for us in the north - which is currently the case - the shortest route is clearly the one to take".

Conditions for 13 Mar 0300



Conditions for 13 Mar 1500



Conditions for 14 Mar 0300



Conditions for 14 Mar 1500



Conditions for 15 Mar 0300


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