Red squares = Geronimo, Red cross = Orange (courtesy of Raymarine)

Red squares = Geronimo, Red cross = Orange (courtesy of Raymarine)

Another record for Geronimo

Despite adverse conditions south of Australia

Thursday February 6th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Position 24hr distance Av speed
Geronimo 45°54S 113°07E 445 18.54
Orange 47°37S 81°08E 489 20.36
Geronimo at 1500 44°34S 117°44E 210.8 (12hrs) 17.5 (12hrs)

Olivier de Kersauson's Geronimo has continued her record breaking run by adding the record from Ushant to Cape Leeuwin (the southwestern tip of Australia) to her collection.
The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric sponsored trimaran set off from Ushant at 03:00:09 GMT on 11 January, Geronimo, and this morning, after 26 days, 4 hours, 53 minutes and 13 seconds at sea, she passed Cape Leeuwin - the second cape of the course - an impressive 3 days, 2 hours and 29 minutes ahead of the time set by Bruno Peyron and his crew aboard Orange last year.

So far the records Geronimo has set are:

Leg Geronimo Orange Difference
Ushant - Equator 6d 11hr 26min 7d 22hr 1d 10hr 34min
Ushant - Cape of Good Hope 16d 14hr 35min 18d 18hr 40min 2d 04hr 05min
Equator - Cape of Good Hope 10d 03hr 09min 10d 20hr 40min 17hr 31min
Ushant - Cape Leeuwin 26d 04hr 53min 29d 07hr 22 min 3d 02hr 29min
Cape of Good Hope- Cape Leeuwin 9d 14hr 17min 10d 12hr 42 min 22hr 25min
Equator- Cape Leeuwin 19d 17hr 27min 21d 09hr 22min 1d 15hr 55min

Despite this success Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew continue to struggle against extremely difficult conditions. The big trimaran has been forced to return a long way north to avoid the worst of a major depression and she continues to make headway in "an enormous and terrible beam sea. Added to that, we’ve got Tropical fronts sweeping through the area we’re sailing in. The result is an appalling Indian Ocean with no chance of the boat gliding as she should. Even as far north as 45 degrees, there are still 7- or 8-metre waves. If you’re happy to make 10 knots, that’s okay, but going any faster under these conditions is almost impossible”, explained Olivier de Kersauson.

In this 'boat breaking' sea, the crew is monitoring the trimaran’s condition very closely. “We’re very strict about that. We make a complete check of the boat every six hours, including an inspection of the mast: we pay close attention to everything. We know that on this voyage, we’re only as good as our equipment. We have to try and slow down very quickly if a problem occurs anywhere on the boat. On every watch, one of the boys has the job of checking the boat, inspecting the bows to make sure we’re not shipping water and to make sure that we have no hitches or snags. This boat is so big that it could take three days for us to find out we have a problem. So we keep very a very close watch on it. We’ve suffered a few knocks, but we’re still in good shape."

Once again, the skipper was at pains to praise his crew, saying that everyone on board Geronimo is still as enthusiastic as they were when they rounded the Cape of Good Hope. “Everything’s going better and better. It’s fantastic. Naturally, we’re a bit tired, due to the bad weather and the continual manoeuvres. There are times like yesterday evening, for example, when I eased up the pressure. It gave us time to recover and feel a bit better. The wind is blowing 35 to 42 knots and steady, rising to between 55 and 60 when the squalls come through. It all requires a lot of attention. It never stops. I’m so happy with this crew and so proud of them. We’re having a great time.

"We’re hanging in there. We’re on the attack all the time, which is great. They’ve been on board with us for 4 months now. Some have sailed with us since September; others since July. We know them well, but it’s not enough just to bring people together. You have to create a proper team spirit: an atmosphere in which everyone wants to work together and attack the record; and you have to synchronise properly for manoeuvres. That’s the way it is with this crew. There’s no need for words and no need for people to be told what to do. Everything’s going like clockwork. There are some great moments. The boat is so capable at sea that it’s extremely enjoyable. She’s as light on the helm as a much smaller boat, like the 25-metre Jules Verne. It’s fabulous when she’s surfing. This boat has real talent”.

Now off South Australia, the crew is already considering how to position Geronimo so that she is best positioned to cross the Pacific in the best possible conditions. “It’s getting on my nerves a bit, because we’ve still got three days to go in these latitudes if we want to get back to gliding the boat as we should. I’m going to find myself grazing the south of Tasmania. From the tourist point of view it might be quite interesting, but it’s a bit of a drama from the sailing point of view. We should have gone further south a long time ago to shorten the route. As things stand, there’s no chance of getting very far south in the next 72 hours”.

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