STOP PRESS: Olivier DE KERSAUSON and his crew have smashed the Round Australia record aboard the maxi trimaran Geronimo. Geronimo finished at approximately 21.30 local time and the new record (subject to WSSRC ratification) is now 17 days, 13 hours, 32 minutes and 39 seconds.
When 61 year old DE KERSAUSON sailed through Sydney Heads tonight after sailing 6,485 miles around the island continent Australia,he was recalling his arrival in another Australia port, when he sailed into Hobart, as first mate aboard Pen Duick III
in the 1967 Sydney to Hobart, winning the race on line honours with his sailing mentor and icon of French sailing, Eric TABARLY.
It is a mixture of bad luck and a long time dream that has brought DE KERSAUSON and the 34 metres (111 feet) Geronimo back into Sydney Harbour tonight.
His Capgemini and Schneider Electric trimaran retired from the round the world Oryx Quest 2005, in the southern ocean, south of Australia, with a recurring delamination in the main crossbeam. She was repaired in Newcastle on Australia's east coast for repairs and there the French skipper realised that the time was right to fulfil his dream.
'I have sailed around the world nine times - and each time I passed to the south, I said I would love to sail around Australia one day'
, he said.
'Round Australia is a fantastic aggregation of all the worst conditions you can find in a round the word race, the north is tricky, between the western system and the trade winds systems, it look likes very unusual conditions. The south is tricky too; down into the roaring 40's.
'We had the strongest winds today, our last day.'
Finish time at Sydney Heads approximately 9:30pm (UTC 12;30) Official finish time will be confirmed as soon as possible.
Original Story: A tough tough morning at the office for the 12 sailors aboard Olivier DE KERSAUSON's 34 metre maxi trimaran Geronimo off the south east coast of Australia, now on the 17th day of their 6485 nautical mile circumnavigation of Australia.
Overnight Geronimo sailed out of Bass Strait and passed Eden. By 08:00 local time she was sailing north with winds of more than 35 knots of wind from the east and driving rain 40 miles outside of the Montague Island, north of the coastal fishing village of Bermagui, made famous in the 30's by the America western writer and fisherman Zane GREY.
Within a period of five minutes the winds increased rapidly and with all hands on deck, DE KERSAUSON dropped the giant mainsail and put the trimaran into a hove-to position. A tight low pressure cell passed through the area with winds of seventy knots blasted her for more than 20 minutes and then the winds dropped back down to the 20's. .
DE KERSAUSON reported by Globalstar star soon after the Franco-Australian crew had rehoisted their mainsail. 'It was exciting for a while. We are all OK; the crew performed extremely well and saved Geronimo from any damage. We are tracking north at 14 knots again.'
Still 150 miles from Sydney, Geronimo is expected around 21:00 local time (1200 UTC)