DE KERSAUSON is not prepared to use his damaged boat in the southern ocean and risk the safety of his crew. Didier RAGOT (FRA), mate and tactician to DE KERSAUSON, discovered the new damage which has convinced his skipper to pull out of the race.
It was with a heavy heart that Olivier DE KERSAUSON announced an end to his race around the world. His massive trimaran Geronimo has more structural problems which have forced the French skipper to retire from the Oryx Quest 2005. 'For security reasons it is not possible to go on and we have to quit now,' he said simply in a satellite phone interview.
After a forced stop in Fremantle, Western Australia to repair damage to the forward crossbeam, DE KERSAUSON and his team headed once more into rough waters south of Australia and had made excellent progress across the Great Australian Bight before discovering more delamination in the main crossbeam. 'When we started to push the boat hard we began to hear the noise of the delamination in the main structure,' DE KERSAUSON said. 'It's impossible for us to go on in those conditions and to go south around Cape Horn. It is very disappointing. We were recovering slowly in the race and it was interesting for us to be chasing the leaders, but it's too dangerous to continue.'
After taking shelter in calmer waters off Tasmania the team has decided to head for Sydney, Australia where a complete damage assessment will be carried out. The new delamination is in a different area from the repair that they did in Fremantle and there is definitely damage to the Nomex core which leads the team to believe that the damage may be extensive. It's certainly too extensive for a quick repair and unfortunately Geronimo is now officially out of the race.
Geronimo's retirement from the Oryx Quest 2005 is a disappointment not only to the race officials, but also to the thousands of sailors who logged on specifically to witness the head-to-head duel between the Geronimo, the only maxi-trimaran in the world, and the rest of the Oryx Quest fleet, all catamarans. Despite the race being short-lived, sailing fans were able to follow one of the greatest match races as Geronimo and Doha 2006 raced side by side the length of the Indian Ocean. In certain conditions the trimaran was faster; in other conditions the cat was the better boat and the outcome was far from decided when Geronimo collided with a submerged object west of Fremantle forcing them to head for land. DE KERSAUSON is convinced that they hit something solid, perhaps a submerged log, and it was not simply the constant pounding that did the damage although they had been sailing in boat breaking conditions for several days before the collision. The cat versus tri debate will have to wait until another day when the mighty Geronimo, and one of the latest generation catamarans, square off again once more.