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23 June 2005, 11:54 am
Geronimo Smashes Sydney To Gold Coast Record
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WSSRC Record Attempt

Less than 33 hours out of Sydney on her Round Australia record run, Olivier DE KERSAUSON's 34 metre (111 foot) maxi trimaran, Geronimo has already smashed her first record, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).
The giant Geronimo left Sydney just after 0800 hours local time yesterday morning, aiming to set a new fastest time for the 6,500 nautical mile Australian circumnavigation. She blasted north along the New South Coast overnight and reached Queensland just on dawn.

She was on the Gold Coast at 0800, 24 hours after the start, three and a half hours inside Brindabella's Sydney to Gold Coast record of 27 hours, 35 minutes, and 3 seconds that has stood unchallenged since 1999.

Australian crewmember Chris STIRLING reported this morning that the top speed recorded overnight was 26 knots, but even at lopeing speed the miles are winding down fast. To keep the boat on pace requires a massive effort for the crew. STIRLING commented, 'it's been great sailing, but it's bloody hard work.'

The trimaran is a massive boat with massive sails and the crew regularly has to reduce and increase sail area as the wind strengthens and eases. Just to hoist the mainsail is a major task and it takes eight sailors on grinders 12-14 minutes working at full pace.

During the day the nine French sailors and three Australians, sweated in the winter sunshine as they worked hard to keep this round the world racing monster at maximum speed. She sailed north past Brisbane and then up the sunshine coast, past Noosa and then paralleled the long sandy beaches of Fraser Island.

At 0600 UTC time she was in cruising mode, steady on 17 knots, ahead of a 14 knot south wester.

Geronimo has been chewing up the miles and she is now more than 600 miles from Sydney and by 2000, at current speed, she will be a tenth of the way round Australia in 36 hours. She has just reached the tip of the Breaksea Spit, the southern extremity of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Weather predictions for the next four days should deliver very steady trade winds all the way to the tip of Cape York.

Rob Kothe (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Geronimo has made a flying start to her Round Australia record attempt:© Andrea Francolini
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