Is it a corridor or a motorway?

There is a gamble ahead for Olivier de Kersauson as they cross the South Atlantic

Monday January 20th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Above - showing the high pressure system straddling almost the entire South Atlantic (image courtesy of Raymarine). Still the opportunities are looking for the next few days - see below

The last days have been start-stop-start for Olivier de Kersauson and the crew of the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Schneider Electric sponsored Geronimo. They are out of the band of light winds to the south of the Equator but now have a complex meteorological situation between their current position and the Southern Ocean 30degress further south.

Skipper Olivier de Kersauson is now warning that only a narrow weather corridor is open for their southward journey. “It’s no motorway. We’ll have to go a long way west to outflank the enormous anticyclone now sitting right across the Atlantic. We’ll probably have to cover an 1000, or even 1200 nautical miles more than the direct route if we’re going to avoid these calms”.

This is why the giant trimaran is now hugging the Brazilian coast as she speeds south towards the Southern Ocean. Making over 20 knots off Bahia this morning, Geronimo’s current position is northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

Day 9 at 0300 Position 24hr distance Average speed
Geronimo 14°18S 32°34W 399nm 16.61
Orange 06°32S 27°41W 396nm 16.52

The boat's position at 15:00 GMT today (16:00 local time): 18°21S, 32°26W
Distance travelled in 12 hours: 243 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 20.26 knots

Forecast charts at 24 hour intervals

Forecast for 1800GMT Tuesday clearly showing the corridor of northwesterly wind. Frankly we think it does look just like a motorway... If Geronimo cover 450 miles heading due south tomorrow it will put them at around 26degS 33degW at the top of the motorway.

1800GMT Wednesday - motorway still formed. Assuming they can cover 500 miles in the strong northwesterlies this should take them to around 32degS 26degW.


1800GMT Thursday - okay so the motorway becomes more of a corridor here. Will they make it through in time?

1800GMT Friday - even if they don't they still have this rather useful low pressure system hurtling up from the Southern Ocean.

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