The Capgemini and Schneider Electric trimaran changed tack yesterday morning at the centre of the anticyclone off south-west Ireland, and has finally set her bows straight for the Jules Verne Trophy finish line. She is expected to cross the line tomorrow
This change of tack is far from insignificant, since it is without doubt the final change of heading in a very long list. It's also the first time for a very long time that the boat has sailed with the wind coming from her left on a port tack. As the skipper explained at midday today: "It's like having to reformat your body, which has become so used to living on the starboard tack. Over and above the fatigue, the lads are having difficulty moving around - we're all a bit clumsy. It's bound to take a few hours for the helmsmen to recover their reflexes and our brains to cope with finding their way around the boat now that she's heeling the wrong way..."
The sea is coming from the northeast, as forecast, and must therefore be climbed wave by wave, since Geronimo's route is due east at the moment. It's hard to make good speed on such a cart track as this. Over the next few hours, the wind should freshen to between 30 and 35 knots and move round to the north, much closer to the direction of the waves. This rotation will also allow the trimaran to fill her sails and step on the gas a bit to cross the line on this same tack... otherwise they could find themselves close-hauled again, as they were on the approach to Cape Horn at 50°South all those days ago.
"We'll take stock of everything tomorrow. But it's a hard slog right to the end, and for now we're concentrating on what's left to do",
concluded Olivier de Kersauson.
GERONIMO (Capgemini / Schneider Electric)
48°57 - 21°28W
455 nautical miles in 24 hours, at an average speed of 18.95 knots.
Distances from the finish line
Geronimo: 645 nautical miles
Orange: 959 nautical miles
To win the Jules Verne Trophy, Geronimo must cross the finish line between the Créac'h and Lizard lighthouses before 07:54:04 GMT on Friday 30 April (09:54 French time).
Current record: 64 days, 8 hours, 37 minutes
Bruno Peyron, skipper of Orange