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30 June 2005, 05:13 pm
Geronimo At The Halfway Point
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WSSRC Record Attempt

After eight days at sea on their Round Australia record attempt, during which they have recorded very good average distances of between 400 and 500 nautical miles per day, the Capgemini/Schneider Electric team has had to slow down. The wind has weakened, and Geronimo is now making 14 knots off the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The Capgemini and Schneider electric trimaran should pass the 6,500 mile mark on her Round Australia course later today. The Franco-Australian crew will have covered the distance in a little over eight days, which sets a very fast reference speed for the trophy. However it is still a long way to Sydney, and yesterday reminded everyone involved of the crucial role played by the weather, as Geronimo covered just 263 miles in the 24 hours - a significant reduction on her average performance over recent days.

Skipper Olivier DE KERSAUSON (FRA) sent this log entry to his shore team from Geronimo, 'I don't have much time to write. For several days, the winds have been excessively variable in force and direction, with no notice of the next change. A mixture of offshore winds and ocean airflows. The smell of the continent carries over a hundred miles out to sea and is completely unlike the heavy air of New Guinea; we were smelling wood and hot earth for two days off the north coast.'

'The sea is turquoise, the air dry, and the sky a clear cloudless blue. It's so ethereal that I feel I could be sailing on the moon. It's incredibly beautiful and completely new to me - as different from the tropical light of Africa, America or Oceania, as the colours of Brittany are from those of the Mediterranean, or the Norwegian Arctic Circle from the Southern Ocean. The colours here are quite unique: it's superb, but a little disturbing at the same time. The great explorers must have pulled a face at these reef-studded seas. If you ever have the time, just take a look at the charts for this coast. Discovery meant recognition, identification and naming. The English and the French obviously enjoyed themselves here. Mount Trafalgar and Mount Waterloo are side-by-side with the Molière, Racine and Institut islands; Borda, who was from Dax, is named several times. Duguesclin, Fénelon, Buffon, Forbin, Jussieu, Lamark, Bernouilli, Tournefort, the Voltaire channel and Cape Lacépède jostle with Snake, Nelson, Bougainvillé and Brunswick islands, to say nothing of Arcole island and the red reef, the blue reef and the rainbow reef. I hesitate to think what names might have been given to these coasts if they had been discovered in the days of reality TV - the Steevy Channel leading into Loana Bay.'

'Tropical calm. The air is dry. The world is fixed - as immobile as the black bird that sits on the crossbeam and looks at us without seeing us and that nothing seems to upset. A tentative half-hearted attempt at a tack fails beneath the acrylic sky… the sun is enormous and there's not a scrap of shade. The floats are covered in a fine crust of hard, dry salt like frost on winter windscreens. We're at 13°S, 125°E in an illusory world of light where the sun has exploded and the sea is on fire. I've never seen that before. Perhaps we're dead, but don't know it. If that's the case, don't tell us, because we'd rather carry on thinking that we're alive, sailing around Australia and enjoying every moment of it. Thank you.'

RivaCom (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The pace has slowed for Geronimo:©
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