On her first full day (coincidentally, Jules Verne's birthday!), Geronimo has progressed better than expected. Having covered 461.24 nautical miles in 24 hours, she is slightly ahead of the time set by current record holder, the maxi-catamaran Orange.
Given that the first hours of this attempt have been calm to say the least, this performance is encouraging in terms both of men and machine.
The crew now needs the right weather conditions over the coming hours and a favourable sequence of weather systems. Geronimo has made her choice of route, opting for a more westerly track rather than the southern option. The latter is shorter, but more difficult to read in terms of the conditions. The reality is that none of the weather systems in the region is truly established and the forecasts change completely every three hours. The western option will involve long hours of sailing close-hauled on the wind (into the wind) before reaching the eastern edge of the Azores High. The bottom line is that although this is the longer route, it demands less effort.
Once the northerly winds are established, the journey south to the Equator should be fast. The other unknown is the strength of the trade winds. Yesterday, they seemed to have blown themselves out, allowing a significant area of the doldrums to reform. With these conditions, it seems as if the absolute record for the fastest passage between Ushant and the Equator is practically out of reach this year.
As she waits, Geronimo is averaging over 18 knots in around 15 knots of south-easterly wind, a long way west of Lisbon. On board, everything is going pretty well with a crew that knows the boat and the course by heart. "Luckily, we've had quite a long time to get her just right!"
says her skipper.