Motoring

Geronimo now has the bit firmly between her teeth

Thursday February 13th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Day 33 0300 Position 24hr run Av speed
Geronimo 55°03S 166°54W 521 21.72
Orange 54°03S 161°08E 492 20.48

The boat's position at 15:00 GMT today: 54°16S 159°44W
Distance travelled in 12 hours: 253 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 21,08 knots

472 miles average for the last week.

After her brief cruise north while passing to the south of Australia, Geronimo now has the bit firmly between her teeth and travelling along the 55th parallel south, has wracked up her second highest daily run of her trip so far with an impressive 521 miles. Over the last week the Olivier de Kersauson's big tri has averaged 472 miles per day.

Maintaining these high speeds demand a high level of vigilance from Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew. "It's very tiring. We've had to manoeuvre a lot in the last few hours. It's also really cold and dark here. It's complicated and stressful, but everything's going well. The sea is a bit less harsh at the moment. You can see glimpses of sky through the clouds and a few stars to remind us that there is another world out there somewhere. Geronimo is gliding noisily from one crest to the next. We can see the beginnings of the Aurora Borealis to the south behind a line of black squalls. The storm is still roaring here. We're taking another crappy heading to avoid the worst of it. Sadly, were getting the distinct impression that the South doesn't want us".

As the skipper explained during yesterday's bulletin, it is impossible to move further south due to the violent winds now prowling the Southern Ocean, even though the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric crew are very keen to get back down to 58° or 60° South as quickly as possible to shorten their route. Geronimo is currently at about 55° South, a latitude at which ice charts are not really required. "The water temperature is still about 9°C, so we're not in any danger at the moment. The risk of icebergs begins when the water gets down to between 0°C and 4°C. At this latitude, we shouldn't meet any floating ice. There's a big clothes peg next to the chart table so we can touch wood when we talk about things that could prove a little tricky. Everything's going well. Let's hope it stays that way!".

Olivier de Kersauson also says how happy he is with Geronimo's sails, which were specially adapted for this round-the-world voyage. "We've had no real problem at all. But now we know the boat a bit better, I'm sure we'd change the cut slightly on this sail or that, or modify one or other surfaces. Generally though, the work done by our sailmakers (Incidence of Brest) is really excellent. The sail Geronimo is carrying today is easily enough and is about 80% of what the boat needs right now".

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