Record to the Equator falls

Geronimo in racing form as ENZA's Brest-Equator passage time is broken

Friday January 17th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
At 15:26:30 French time today Olivier de Kersauson's maxi tri crossed the Equator - 1 day 10 hours and 34 minutes ahead of the time of Jules Verne record holder Bruno Peyron on board Orange last year.

Geronimo took 6 days 11 hours 26 minutes and 21 seconds to get from the Jules Verne Trophy start line off Ushant to the Equator, averaging an impressive 21 knots in the process. This will not only set a high pace for Kingfisher2 when she departs, but also breaks the outright record for this passage set by Peter Blake and Robin Knox-Johnston's ENZA New Zealand in 1994, who took 7 days and 22 hours.

Clearly the Gods have been smiling on the French team who have had near perfect weather conditions to slingshot them south.

"We are happy that it has gone so well up until now," commented the French skipper. "This part of the course can be complex, and great losses can be made. From the sailing point of view it has not been too tiring, but the strategy and the analysis of the weather has been significant. I haven't rested much these last days. It's a symbolic moment in the voyage passing from north to south showing the collection work and application of Geronimo and the team."

However de Kersauson doesn't yet want to count his chickens. "There is an enormous anticyclone which bars the way through the south Atlantic," he continues. "We are not sure of the systems to come. A passage exists, but it is narrow. This is not a motorway and our route will not be direct towards the Cape of Good-Hope. It will probably be necessary for us to sail an extra 1000-1200 miles to avoid calms. Weather traps like this are significant in the Atlantic."

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