Looking back at the North Atlantic

Geronimo is ahead of the Jules Verne record, but de Kersauson will turn back if conditions aren't right

Saturday January 18th 2003, Author: Rivacom, Location: Transoceanic
Having crossed the Equator in record time, the crew of the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric sponsored Geronimo have been taking stock of this first leg of their record attempt.

The weather window proved to be very good over the period since the start, although it could have been better since Geronimo was running until she picked up the trade winds, with the window closing behind her and opening in front of her only at the very last moment. It was therefore impossible to go any faster between the start line and the Canaries. Once she picked up the trade winds, the giant tri was able to increase her pave, overtaking not only Orange's pace, but enough to beat ENZA New Zealand’s record from the start to the Equator.

The crew is becoming more enthusiastic about the boat with every mile she covers. 'Sharp', 'fast', 'light' and 'responsive': all of these words are now part of the regular vocabulary of her helmsmen.

The 25,000 nautical miles and more she has covered in the last year as part of her development are now beginning to pay off as and Geronimo is now more reliable. The boat is being managed with great care to minimise wear and tear: there’s no point in setting the world’s fastest time to Cape Town if that’s where the record attempt ends. These are the considerations the skipper Olivier de Kersauson has in mind when he refers to the freedom he has to retrace his own wake through the Atlantic and return to the start line if at any point he is not happy with how the voyage is going.

Tomorrow probably one crewmember will have to don diving gear to inspect the underside of the hull to see whether the giant squid or octopus – whatever the beast may have been – has left any impression on the carbon fibre skin. It will be hard for him not to imagine that the same creature or one of its relatives is lurking in the depths below him as he swims.

Much as we may lament the lack of true adventure in today’s world, the Jules Verne Trophy reminds us that the sea remains our last frontier: a world without rules, measures or restrictions, where everything you do presents a risk. And these risks are completely unpredictable when you’re dealing with an environment as wild and natural as the great oceans of the world.

Geronimo has only just begun her attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy and still has six times as many sea miles to travel as she has covered so far. With all the oceans of the world to look forward to, the adventure may only just have begun, but it has certainly got off to an eventful start!

As the forecasts predicted, Geronimo entered an area of calm last night. We can expect the speed of the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Schneider Electric trimaran to reduce significantly as these conditions have their effect.

Day 7 0300 Position 24 hr distance Av speed
Geronimo 02°41S 31°53W 419 17.45
Orange 01°58N 23°55W 401 16.99

The boat's position at 15:00 GMT today (16:00 local time): 04°54S, 32°20W
Distance travelled in 12 hours : 136 nautical miles
Average speed over the last 12 hours: 11.31 knots

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