Geronimo still on track

De Kersauson maintains high speeds across Pacific

Saturday February 15th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Day 35 Position 24hr run Av speed Distance ahead
Geronimo 52°10S 141°41W 424 nm 17.66 kt 1277 nm
Orange 51°03S 172°21W 481 nm 20.05kt -

The boat's position at 15:00 GMT today: 51°15S, 135°41W
Distance travelled in 12 hours : 229.69 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 19.14 knots

Geronimo, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric sponsored trimaran is still on a northerly track and has just crossed the route taken by Orange last year. Forced as far north as 52° south in the last few hours, Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew are now off their favoured track.

“From the geographical point of view, our route is not very good and we’re losing a lot of time at the moment. As we are at the Antarctic convergence, I decided to tack north, which is not really what I’d prefer. The ideal would have been to head east, but, in fact, we’re heading towards 50° (north-east) to get away from this problem. The tension and fatigue involved make it particularly hard on the nerves. The sooner we can go south, the shorter the route will be.

"We can’t manage that at the moment, but I think that it could become possible in the next few hours. Everything depends on the depression now to the south of us. We think that the awful weather system we had in the Indian Ocean is moving in this direction, which is bad news. But despite everything, we have managed to stay further south, because in the Indian Ocean, we often had to move north of 50°, but latterly we’ve been able to get down to around 52° or even 54° south.

"I really hope we can move south quickly, but we’ll have to see. We must take each day as it comes. Even if the auspices don’t look too good at the moment, we will get through this”.

Geronimo is maintaining a good average of over 22 knots boat speed, but is having to zigzag through a narrow corridor, unable to move south due to the presence of growlers. The frequent gibing dictated by the recent westerlies seriously reduced her point-to-point progress until this morning. The trimaran gibed back onto her direct route at around midday today. Apart from a suspect area around 110°W, which satellite measurements show to be too cold at present, the route to the Horn seems finally to be opening up.

Below: showing weather for 1500 15 Feb. Geronimo is riding the favourable winds to the south of a high pressure system

Tomorrow is likely to be a slow day for Geronimo as the high dissipates to the north leaving her in the ridge between systems

Come Monday Geronimo is likely to be keying into the northwesterlies in the northwestern quadrant of the next low coming up from the west.

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