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22 June 2005, 09:44 am
Geronimo Sets Off Round Australia
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WSSRC Record Attempt
Sydney, Australia

At 08:04:10 hours Australian Eastern Standard Time today, the giant grey trimaran Geronimo crossed the start line and departed Sydney Harbour on her race against the clock circumnavigating Australia.
Weather conditions are now ideal for the maxi trimaran's attempt to set a record for a fully crewed maxi multi hull boat to circumnavigate the 6,500 miles around Australia. A north west breeze of 15 knots had her powered up as she travelled down the harbour at over 22 knots boat speed.

A crew of nine French and three Australian sailors will spend the next 20 plus days pushing the boat as hard as they can to set a record for the trophy. After an afternoon and evening of preparation exercises, they returned for their official start on a line that runs from the Opera House on Bennelong Point to Admiralty House on Kirribilli Point. Overnight, the crew settled into their watch routine and experienced 20 knots from the west with a flat sea.

As Geronimo made her way down the harbour she had a solent headsail and full mainsail and the crew changed down to a smaller headsail known as a trinquette or No. 3, as she reached off around North Head. In the current weather conditions Geronimo is expected to be in the waters off Queensland before daylight tomorrow.

During her trip down the harbour Geronimo had to negotiate regular harbour traffic including Manly ferries, Jet Cats and an inbound oil tanker before she exited the heads.

The current Round Australia record, as ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC), was set in July 2003 by Kaz and skipper David PESCUD (AUS) in a time of 37 days, 1 hour, 23 minutes and 57 seconds at an average speed of 7.31 knots. Geronimo skipper, Olivier DE KERSAUSON (FRA) is conservatively aiming for a finish in under a month, although if the wind is favourable a finish within 20 days could well be possible.

Sam Crichton (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Geronimo sets off from Sydney Harbour:© Andrea Francolini
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