The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran crossed the Equator at 02:10 GMT today, Tuesday 20 April 2004, 54 days, 2 hours and 52 minutes after Geronimo and her 11-man crew crossed the Jules Verne Trophy start line at 23:17 GMT on 25 February.
After ten days of storms and suffering in the South Pacific and over ten days of light winds in the South Atlantic, we can but hope that the northern hemisphere will be kinder to Olivier de Kersauson and his crew.
In the immediate future, the men on board Geronimo will be seeking to cross the Doldrums as quickly as possible. At 05:17 GMT today (Tuesday) their position was 00°38N, 30°15W and they were on a heading of 0° due north, making a true 9.5 knots in 8 knots of wind.
From 4°S to 4°N, the wind is 12kts at best, all of which adds up to a new obstacle every bit as formidable as a large Doldrums. So, at almost every stage of this round-the-world attempt, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran has encountered the worst possible weather conditions.
The crew is consistently getting the absolute best out of the trimaran at every gust and oscillation of the wind, as can be seen from the Inmarsat data, which shows actual speeds that are consistently higher than the wind speed (12 knots with 8 knots of wind at 11:00). Absolute speed remains Geronimo's only weapon against her climatic bad luck.