Another record in the offing
Having set a new record for the fastest time between Ushant and the Equator, Geronimo seems set to enter the record books yet again later today when she passes Cape Leeuwin, the first of the three Capes on the Jules Verne Trophy course between 18:00 and 19:00 GMT today, according to the team's meteorologist and router, Pierre Lasnier.
Having crossed the start line at 03:00 GMT on 11 January, Geronimo should therefore knock nearly two days off the Ushant-Cape of Good Hope record set in March last year by Bruno Peyron's catamaran Orange, with a time of 18 days, 18 hours, 40 minutes.
On this second leg of the course, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric crew have increased their lead over the time set by Bruno Peyron and his crew. Having made the dash to the Equator with one day and 10 hours in hand, Geronimo should cut the symbolic line off the Cape of Good Hope a little over two days ahead, having gained half a day on the second leg from the Equator to the Cape.
Later tonight, having rounded the Cape of Good Hope on the southernmost tip of South Africa, Geronimo must negotiate the tricky passage through the Prince Edward Islands. This small island group lies at about 46° East in the southern Indian Ocean and has belonged to South Africa since 1948.
In much the same way as an unusually southerly anticyclone hampered the trimaran's progress through the South Atlantic, there is now a high-pressure area across her path to the south of Madagascar. A deep depression now travelling very fast from the south-west is forecast to push in towards this anticyclone over the next few days tightening up the isobars. Either the trimaran tracks south into colder, denser air, or remains at around 40° South and faces up to some very variable and violent winds.
Whichever course she takes, this will be a baptism of fire for Geronimo on her first venture into the Southern Ocean, having proved her qualities at the other extreme of the spectrum in the lighter winds and calms of the Atlantic.