With Geronimo 19 hours, 42 minutes ahead of Orange's 2002 record time when she crossed the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope on Sunday night, Olivier de KERSAUSON'S crew had 526 sea miles in hand at the end of their 17 day at sea.
This gap can be expected to widen over the coming hours, since Geronimo is now 6 degrees further south that her virtual rival, thus considerably shortening the route by tracking closer to Antarctica.
Naturally though, there's no predicting what the immediate future may hold, although good weather conditions are forecast for later.
It was not so long ago that, when referring to the islands in this region, marine charts carried a legend we hardly ever see today: "Existence Doubtful". In its way, shows the extent to which the southern seas had managed to protect their mystery. Cartographers would name the empty regions of the Southern Ocean "Hic sunt dracones" (Here be Dragons). Today, there are few places on earth that can only be visited after serious adventure, but where they do exist, these regions of our planet remain as isolated and wild as they have always been. In such places, nature is omnipotent.
The vast extent of the Antarctic Ocean marks the southern boundary of the Pacific, Indian and South Atlantic Oceans. Its official limit lies below the 40th parallel at the point where sailors enter what they call the Roaring Forties, Howling Fifties and Screaming Sixties. The winds here are violent almost all the time and can gust above hurricane force.
There are five levels between wind force 7 and hurricane force on the scale created by Sir Francis Beaufort in 1806. This Royal Navy admiral developed a rating system that related wind speed to conditions in the open sea. Hurricane force, or force 12, is the highest level of the scale and indicates wind speeds of over 64 knots (74 mph). The description given for the sea state in these conditions is "phenomenal". If the wind seems murderous, then the sea has distinctly criminal tendencies. The highest wave ever recorded on the planet was seen in these latitudes and was 36 metres high. But it's not just the size of the waves, but also their speed that adds to the risk of venturing into these waters. The longer a wave is, the faster it is. In the Southern Ocean, waves have an immense area of ocean in which to build. Their crests are sometimes over 200 metres apart and they can be moving at nearly 35 knots…
Full story is available on Geronimo's website at the address below.